Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and his Indigenous Health counterpart Ken Wyatt today announced $23.2 million in funding for 28 new health projects.
They made the announcement touring a local renal health clinic in Alice Springs called the Purple house, which provides a mobile dialysis service to remote communities.
Funded through the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), it is the first major announcement to come during this week's Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Ministers' meeting in Alice Springs.
Mr Wyatt said he knows just how difficult and debilitating dialysis can be, particularly for those who need to travel into regional centres to access treatment.
“We’ve seen senior Aboriginal people make the decision to disengage from dialysis in regional hospitals and go back to country and die on country, this now changes that," he said.
Mr Wyatt said the expansion of remote and mobile dialysis treatment options will really help.
“I was in Darwin and I heard an Elder talk about living life and enjoying it fully until he had to go to Darwin and he said when he had to go to Royal Darwin Hospital he thought he was going to get a prescription and some tablets to return home," Mr Wyatt said.
"He said he never realised he would be married to a machine and would never return to country.
“This gives an incredible opportunity for patients to spend time with family, for culture and family to be passed on for those who have that task but more importantly to keep family together."
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says that while the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy hasn’t been bridged yet, there has been progress.
“Today is a critically important day for investment in Indigenous health and research and training and improved outcomes," Mr Hunt said.
"Each one of these 28 projects has the potential to save lives and to improve lives."
The NHMRC also launched a road map which will help direct Indigenous health and research investment for the next decade.