Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Health care for Australian Aborigines

Please check out this fascinating story by Edward Small in The Atlantic, entitled "For Australian Aborigines, the Health Problems of Westernization."  An excerpt:

About three years ago, McKenzie had to move to the central Australian town of Alice Springs -- around 300 miles from Mutitjulu -- for a reason that has become increasingly common among Australia's indigenous population: dialysis. His kidneys were failing, and if he did not get treatment to replace the blood cleaning work that they used to do, he was not going to survive. 

In other words, he moved to stay alive. But he was not too happy about it.

"It's tough in Alice Springs," he says. "Nobody comes out and talks to me. I'm by myself. Lonely, you know?" 

McKenzie still spends the bulk of his time in Alice Springs, as the medical treatment he needs is much more available there than it is in remote aboriginal communities like Mutitjulu. However, thanks to a mobile dialysis unit that the corporation Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku (the name means "making all our families well" in the aboriginal language Pintupi) launched in 2011, he at least has some opportunities to come back and visit.

Mr. Small just joined the staff The Boston Courant, a neighborhood newspaper here that has been branching out lately to take on some very interesting health care stories.  As their neighborhood includes the Longwood Medical Area--home to Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health and several hospitals--expect some new insights about issues facing Boston and beyond.

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