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Australia: Heatwave and drought a dangerous mix for dialysis patients in remote communities

Source(s):  Guardian, the (UK)

By Lorena Allam

As Australia endures another heatwave, chronic water shortages are endangering life-saving kidney treatment for hundreds of Aboriginal people in remote desert communities.


Purple House operates clinics in 18 remote communities, so Aboriginal people can be on country, receive treatment and still take part in the cultural life of their communities. People with end-stage renal failure usually need dialysis three times a week. A single treatment uses 600 litres of clean, cold water.


“The last couple of summers we’ve really struggled with the temperature of the water,” says the chief executive, Sarah Brown. “The water has to be below a certain temperature or you can’t actually use it for dialysis. And over the last few years, two things have happened.


“One is that the temperature of the water coming into the system has risen and that’s because the water pipes in the community aren’t far underground. As the ground heats up, because the days are hotter, the water in the pipes is heating up too.”


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  • Publication date 18 Dec 2019

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