- Three leading health organisations have set medical researchers a challenge to make an affordable dialysis machine capable of using non-purified water as new figures show more people will experience terminal kidney failure.
- A 37-year-old woman from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast who died from meningococcal disease tested negative to the illness hours before falling seriously ill, her mother says.
- Publisher Penguin Random House has stopped printing The Whole Pantry amid uncertainty around whether its author, Belle Gibson, had cancer.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 18th March 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Three leading health organisations have set medical researchers a challenge to make an affordable dialysis machine capable of using non-purified water as new figures show more people will experience terminal kidney failure.
Medical researchers at The George Institute of Global Health estimate somewhere between five and 10 million people in the world need dialysis right now.
According to the institute’s Australian director Professor Vlado Perkovic only a small portion of that number have access to it.
“Somewhere between half and three quarters of all people with kidney failure around the world never get the chance to receive dialysis and are doomed to die of their disease,” he told PM’s Mark Colvin.
The group’s research, titled Worldwide Access to Treatment for End-stage Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review, shows that by 2030, the number of people on dialysis is predicted to double to about 5.4 million, with most of the growth in Asia.
The figures imply an urgent need for affordable dialysis, with current costs ranging from $US20,000 to $US100,000 for each person, each year.
The George Institute for Global Health, the International Society of Nephrology and the Asian Pacific Society of Nephrology have joined with the Farrell Family Foundation to create the Affordable Dialysis Prize, which challenges innovators, engineers, patents, medical device companies, students, technology enterprises and inventors to design an affordable dialysis machine.
“We’ve set a target of $1,000 for a machine to be built that could perform dialysis in much the same way as the machines do today but that could use any water supply, rather than just requiring purified water and that ideally would be rechargeable, either using rechargeable batteries or ideally using solar power,” Professor Perkovic said.
He said innovative focus had so far been on creating better machines with additional features, rather than developing efficient and affordable solutions.
“We need to focus not on making a shin[i]er fancier new machine, but making an equally effective but much, much cheaper machine so more people can be treated,” Professor Perkovic said.
“The fundamental principle and the thing that hasn’t been focused on is to produce a low-cost version of dialysis that’s effective to allow those people that don’t currently have access, to get access.”
Professor Perkovic said for those living in remote parts of Australia, particularly Indigenous communities, access to dialysis was difficult.
A woman has died in hospital on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast after contracting meningococcal disease.
Queensland Health confirmed the woman from Pomona, near Noosa, was admitted to hospital on Friday and died on Sunday.
The 37-year-old mother of two was an employee of the Noosa council and was at work on Friday when she became ill.
Her family and close contacts were treated with antibiotics.
Council staff were contacted and urged to seek medical advice if they showed symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms include fever, headache, neck stiffness and a rash.
Queensland Health said it was the first meningococcal case in the state this year.
It said last year there were six cases.
Publisher Penguin Random House has stopped printing The Whole Pantry amid uncertainty around whether its author, Belle Gibson, had cancer.
Ms Gibson had claimed she suffered from multiple cancers but was quoted in The Australian newspaper last week as saying she had a “misdiagnosis”.
The success her book and smartphone application, which advocates natural therapies, has been largely credited for her high profile as a cancer survivor.
“Despite our best endeavours, we have not received sufficient explanation from Ms Gibson, author of The Whole Pantry recipe book, in response to recent allegations,” Penguin said in a statement.
“As such, we have been left with no other option but to stop supplying the book in Australia.
“We remain hopeful that we will receive the formal assurances we have requested in the coming days.”
The questions came on top of allegations that promised donations to charities made by The Whole Pantry had not been paid.
In a statement on Facebook, The Whole Pantry blamed it on cash flow problems.
The Whole Pantry recipe book was released in Australia last year and is scheduled to be launched in the USA and England next month.
It is unclear if the launch will go ahead.
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