It’s not every day that Elvis Presley, the Minister of Health, several hundred kidney patients and an assortment of local dignitaries including MP for Mangere Su’a Williams and Counties Manukau Health CEO Geraint Martin gather at the Mangere Town Centre, but Tuesday 25th March was a special occasion. Over 500 people came together for the ‘Give a Kidney – Change a Life’ event hosted by Counties Manukau Health and the Kidney Society Auckland to celebrate the launch of Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa’s package of educational resources.
The culturally appropriate educational resources have been developed as part of a coordinated effort led by Counties Manukau Health to increase the number of people donating kidneys to patients with end stage renal disease, particularly among Maori and Pacific Island people, who suffer disproportionately high rates of kidney disease but are much less likely than other ethnic groups to either donate or receive a kidney. Of the 123 Counties Manukau Health patients who had a kidney transplant between January 2002 and September 2012, only one was for a Maaori patient and six for Pacific patients.
In the past, patients with severe renal failure have relied heavily on dialysis and donations from those who have passed away. However, life expectancy and quality are poor on dialysis compared to kidney transplantation, and there are never enough kidneys donated by the deceased to meet the demand. New Zealand currently has 600 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, which reflects only 30% of those diagnosed with end stage renal disease. Once on the waiting list, the chances of getting a kidney are correspondingly low – again, only 30%.
The Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa project has developed an intervention strategy targeting three tiers to promote live kidney donation as a solution to the problem:
- Healthcare professionals
- Provision of education sessions to enable primary care providers to share appropriate information on live kidney donation with patients and build health literacy
- Implementation of a ‘Home and Kidney First’ policy at Counties Manukau Health
- Patients and families
- Development of a culturally appropriate package of educational resources
- Provision of home-based support from health educators to build health literacy and facilitate family discussions to enable informed decision-making
- Regular community meetings and events to raise awareness about kidney disease, kidney transplant and the need for live kidney donors
- Engagement with community leaders
The launch of the educational resources package marked a milestone for the project, and was a fun-filled, successful day for all concerned. Those present enjoyed performances by a local group Nga Tuanga O Te Puna and Steve Fitter, an Elvis impersonator – who is himself a kidney patient, before Minister of Health Tony Ryall officially launched the educational resources. Kidney transplant recipients and live kidney donors shared their stories and interacted with people to help raise awareness about live kidney donation. Opportunities were provided for the general public and people suffering from kidney disease to visit information booths provided by event supporters Kidney Health New Zealand, Kidney Kids Team, ADHB Transplant Team, Organ Donation New Zealand and Work and Income. The event was sponsored by Fresh Direct, Pak ‘n’ Save, Progressive Enterprises and red rat, who supplied healthy snacks of fruit and water. AV Events, TP Print and PushPromo supported the project through provision of discounted services.
If you would like to find out more about the project or about being a live kidney donor please visit The Kidney Donor website or call 0800 LIVE DONOR (0800 5483 36667).