Maori do not receive kidney treatment
Photo: Getty Images.
Click for the full interview.
The government’s failure to increase kidney transplant rates is costing the healthcare system millions, with Maori people at higher risk for kidney disease and more likely to miss transplants when available.
A new study from economists NZEIR, commissioned by Kidney Health New Zealand, indicates that every dialysis patient who receives a transplant would save the health care system nearly $ 400,000 over six years.
Last year, 3,700 New Zealanders received dialysis treatment costing more than $ 100,000 a year, and that number is expected to rise over the next decade due to skyrocketing rates of type 2 diabetes, especially in Maori and Pasifika patients.
Medical Board Chairman and Nephrologist Dr Curtis Walker says Maori only get about a third of kidney transplants they should be compared to non-Maori.
He wants the health services to discuss with whānau the donation of living kidneys when this is an option, and also the possibility of becoming an organ donor in the event of death.
“There’s a little something you sign when you get a driver’s license and beyond, it’s a little bit that you don’t really know what’s going on. Until you are in the intensive care unit and some of these questions come up and can be a surprise and a shock. The hardest time to face this question. So I would encourage whānau to think about it ahead of time and have these discussions with your loved ones and say look, I want to be an organ donor and pay it forward, ”he said.
Dr Walker also wants to see investments in health education from an early age to reduce rates of diabetes through better lifestyle choices.