Organ and Tissue Authority

World Kidney Day: Community Focus on Renal Health, Organ Donation

Article Date: 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

As World Kidney Day today highlights that more than 1,000 Australians are waiting for kidney transplants, the Turnbull Government is providing $430,000 in Community Awareness Grants for local projects to encourage more people to register as organ and tissue donors.

The Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority, Ken Wyatt AM, said with one in three Australians at increased risk of kidney disease, preventing the onset of renal failure and lifting organ donor registrations were crucial.

Minister Wyatt said World Kidney Day and Kidney Health Week underscored the importance of people caring for their kidney health, starting with taking a simple new online test available on Kidney Health Australia’s website to establish their kidney disease risk.

“The theme of Kidney Health Week is ‘Don’t be blind to kidney disease,” said Minister Wyatt.

“Up to 90 per cent of our kidney function can be lost before we experience any symptoms, with risk factors including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and a family history of renal failure.”

In 2017, 1,675 Australian lives were saved and improved through the generosity of 510 deceased organ donors and their families and 273 living donors, including 1,103 who received a kidney transplant from 435 deceased and 271 living kidney donors. A further 9,600 Australians benefited from tissue donation last year. 

“While Australia has more than doubled the number of deceased organ donors, and saved over 10,000 lives since the national program began in 2009, the national consent rate remains at around 60 per cent,” Minister Wyatt said.

“To increase donation outcomes, we need to raise consent rates and this can be achieved by more families discussing and registering to be donors.”

In 2017, organ donation occurred in 90 per cent of cases when the deceased was a registered donor. This compares to just 44 per cent if the potential donor was not registered and the family had no knowledge of their wishes.

“With organ donation now fully embedded in our national health system, we need greater grassroots participation to help us achieve further growth in organ and tissue donation to save and improve more lives,” said Minister Wyatt. 

“This is particularly important amongst Indigenous people, where the risk of kidney failure is even higher.”

The DonateLife Community Awareness Grants are provided by the Organ and Tissue Authority as part of its national Community Awareness and Education Program.

DonateLife invites applications for activities to be conducted during DonateLife Week 2018 (Sunday 29 July – Sunday 5 August), or for other targeted awareness and education activities during 2018-19 which focus on specific audiences.

Applications are invited from non-government organisations and professional bodies, including community-based not-for-profit organisations and local government associations.

The closing date for applications is 10am AEST Tuesday, 3 April 2018. For more information please visit the DonateLife website: www.donatelife.gov.au/tenders-and-grants