Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reviewed Wednesday 27 May 2020

Latest update:

During these uncertain and difficult times, we're working with the medical community and partners to provide you up to date information about the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

We are part of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology COVID-19 National Working Group which is responding to the COVID-19 Crisis – we will ensure the needs and concerns of patients are being heard, and that the information we bring you is up to date and backed by the clinical community.

  • In Australia, there have been 13 reported cases among kidney patients to date (20/05/2020). 
  • The New England Journal published an observational study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalised Patients with COVID-19 with the conclusion showing no differences. Currently there is insufficient evidence for this drug meaning it should not be taken unless directed your doctor.
  • The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) have released a position statement that provides advice on reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools, including advice for vulnerable students/staff.
  • TSANZ has issued advice to transplant patients on returning to work and school. Please visit their website for further information.
  • The TSANZ Paediatric Transplant Advisory Committee (PTAC) has produced information in relation to transplant patients returning to school, please see their website

Watch our webinar on transplants and COVID-19

Our panel of experts talk about what it means now that kidney transplants are resuming and what you need to know.

Our panel included:

- A/Professor Shilpa Jesudason, Clinical Director at Kidney Health Australia

- Professor Toby Coates Co-Chair of the COVID-19 - National Transplantation and Donation Rapid Response Taskforce and TSANZ President 

- Danielle Stephenson Lead Transplant Coordinator at Royal Adelaide Hospital

- Maria O'Sullivan General Manager of Community Services 

Watch here

We're here to help

We’re here to help you during these difficult times. Our Kidney Helpline can answer your kidney health queries, COVID-19 questions and help connect you to services. Speak to the health information team today on 1800 454 363 (option 1) or email [email protected]

Sign up to receive kidney news, information on vital services and events, and general kidney health information, click here.

Yarning Kidneys Summer News

Kidney Health Australia has welcomed Kimberly Taylor to the team , stepping into the Project Manger role for the Yarnings Consultations. Kimberly is a proud Kaurna, Narrunga and Adnyamathanha woman from Adelaide who is focused on improving positive health outcomes for Aboriginal communities across Australia. 

The Australian Writing Group has reconvened once since the last meeting and used our consultations thus far to select three guidelines to start evidence synthesis. The Australian Writing Group and KHA CARI will work together with Kidney Health Australia to develop the proposal and budget for funding asks for the Guidelines Writing process.

See further updates here

Our first Chronic Kidney Disease Ambassadors

Kidney Health Australia’s Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Ambassador Program is pleased to announce its first endorsed CKD Ambassador practice, North Shore General Practice in Townsville.

CKD Ambassadors - North Shore GP

North Shore General Practice applied to take part in the CKD Ambassador Program with 11 GPs and 6 staff members enlisted. After initial data extraction and a staff education session, the practice focussed on assessing patients with hypertension to recall for a kidney health check, along with handing out assessment cards opportunistically to patients in the waiting area.

With half of their adult population considered as having at least 1 risk factor for CKD, North Shore General Practice increased the number of patients with diagnosed CKD by more than 200% over the duration of the activity. 75% of these people were classified as stage 1-3 CKD; this is considered early stages of CKD (before any symptoms develop). Pro-active management in the early stages of CKD have been shown to reduce the progression of CKD compared to being left undiagnosed.

This practice is being recognised as a CKD Ambassador practice because they have:

  • Implemented best-practice systems to detect Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in high risk people
  • Implemented best-practice systems to manage people with CKD
  • Demonstrated an understanding of the importance of the kidney and the diagnosis of CKD

Awakabal Medical Service
Awakabal Medical Service is an Aboriginal Health Service in Hamilton, NSW. This health service completed kidney health checks on their patients and were able to increase their CKD diagnosis recording two-fold with high risk patients. The nurses and doctors at Awakabal Medical Service have included a Kidney Health Check in all their health checks for each patient.

Congratulations Dr James Stephen and team for completing the CKD Ambassador program!

Subbiah Family Practice
Dr Nandini Subbiah applied to take part in the CKD Ambassador as a sole GP. Dr Subbiah doubled the amount of patient diagnosed with CKD in the practice software to a total of 11.7%. This percentage directly correlates to the population health data available for the local area of Port Macquarie, NSW. Not only did the diagnosis rate increase the stage at which the CKD was detected saw about 95% of the patients with CKD have CKD stage 1-3b (early stages of CKD). This is a fantastic outcome from the CKD Ambassador program, as early detection with best practice management is the fundamental means of reducing disease progression.

Congratulations Dr Subbiah for completing the CKD Ambassador program!

Comments from participants
“Participating in the CKD program was rewarding for both practitioners and patients.  We were able to identify and engage a number of at risk people to offer appropriate screening and treatment.  This is sure to make a big difference in short and long term outcomes!”
Dr Chris Stelmaschuk

“As a clinical group, we realised we were not accurately coding for CKD and that this was increasing the risks of prescribing/ medication errors. This was of particular concern as most CKD patients have multiple co-morbidities and are subject to poly-pharmacy.  The CKD QI program was a great way to improve our knowledge and systems around renal disease.”
Dr Martin McGahan

For more information:
Call: 1800 454 363
Email: [email protected]

Kidney Health Australia research grants 2019-2020 open


We're pleased to announce the Kidney Health Australia Research Medical and Scientific 2019-2020 funding round is now open.

Kidney Health Australia focuses on three streams of kidney disease research:

•   Stream 1: Improving quality of life and duration of life for those living with CKD
•   Stream 2: Making kidney transplants last longer
•   Stream 3: Preventing the progression of chronic kidney disease

This year, the Kidney Health Australia Research 2019-2020 Funding Round will focus on Stream 2 ‘Making kidney transplants last longer’.

Learn more about Kidney Health Australia research here

Thank you for your Kidney Kindness

We did it

Thank you for your Kidney Kindness

Together, we raised an incredible $101,000 of Kidney Kindness to help us deliver vital support services to families whose lives are changed instantly by kidney disease.

Families like Eli’s.  Eli was six years old when he was told he had only 10% kidney function. That one day changed his live forever. One day he was a carefree child and the next he was hooked up to dialysis waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.

Thanks to you, we’re able to reach even more people when they receive a shocking diagnosis of kidney disease. Together, we can ensure no one faces kidney disease alone.

Thank you for joining us and making your act of Kidney Kindness count.

As we have hit our target any further donations received will no longer be matched, however they will still go towards helping us deliver vital support services, donate here.

Give a double dose of Kidney Kindness on Giving Tuesday

1 - Unnamed

On Giving Tuesday, 3 December, Kidney Health Australia is urging the community to give Kidney Kindness so their donation can be doubled to help reach $100k and provide vital support to families devastated by kidney disease.

The peak body for kidney disease in Australia, Kidney Health Australia provides vital services to the 200,000 people currently diagnosed with kidney disease, many of them young children like Eli who was diagnosed with renal failure at the age of six.

“With our help, Eli and his family were able to stay at our Melbourne Transplant House so that Eli could undergo a kidney transplant three years after his diagnosis and care on dialysis. Because of his transplant, he was finally well enough to attend our Kid’s Camp and get back to being the happy-go-lucky boy he was before his diagnosis,” said Chris Forbes, Chief Executive Officer for Kidney Health Australia.

Mr Forbes said Giving Tuesday was a global generosity movement uniting individuals and communities to go all out on one day to fundraise for organisations that need their support.

“We’re asking the Australian community to dig deep as their donations will be doubled until we hit our target of $100k, thanks to our generous matched funders,” Mr Forbes said.

“All it took was one day for Eli’s life to change and the impact of his kidney disease diagnosis to be long lasting, and that is a story that’s far too common amongst our kidney community,” Mr Forbes said.

Mr Forbes said kidney disease was an insidious disease that can strike suddenly as 90% of kidney function can be lost before symptoms are apparent.

“We have a real fight on our hands to get people diagnosed earlier and provide the level of support families like Eli’s need when they are faced with a serious diagnosis out of the blue, so funding is vital for us to deliver these services,” Mr Forbes said.

To donate to Kidney Health Australia on Giving Tuesday please visit All donations will be matched with the support of our matched funders until the charity reaches its $100k target

Include a Charity Week

Meryl on the Big Red Kidney Bus

Celebrating Include a Charity Week this week, from the 9 to 15 September, we encourage Australians to consider their future legacy. Merryl Cripps, one of our valued supporters, has made the generous decision to leave a gift in her Will to Kidney Health Australia, supporting the Big Red Kidney Bus.

Merryl has had kidney disease since birth, but it was only in the last four years, that it started to impact her noticeably. In June 2018, she started haemodialysis and three months later, Merryl was lucky enough to have a kidney transplant.

Merryl’s experience with kidney disease has inspired her to make the most of her life and to ensure that she does what she loves – travelling. It is this love that led Merryl to decide to leave a gift in her Will to Kidney Health Australia to fund the Big Red Kidney Bus, which provides a mobile haemodialysis service allowing those who require haemodialysis the chance to have a holiday whilst still receiving treatment.

“I’ve remembered Kidney Health Australia in my Will, because I know the difference services like the Big Red Kidney Buses make”, says Merryl.

Include a Charity aims to encourage more people to leave a gift in their Will to the charity that they hold dear to them. Kidney Health Australia are fortunate that a number of our supporters have chosen to leave a gift in their Will to Kidney Health Australia. We are most grateful for their foresight and commitment to future generations. We would love you to consider taking this significant and generous step.

If you have any questions about remembering Kidney Health Australia in your Will, please get in touch with Roberta Armitage, Bequest Officer on [email protected] or phone 03 9674 4383.


Big Red Kidney Walk 2019

Big Red Kidney Walk

Thousands of Aussies around the country will be stepping out in red for the annual Big Red Kidney Walk to fight kidney disease on Sunday 8 September.

Now in its 8th year, the Big Red Kidney Walk is Kidney Health Australia’s annual event to bring the community together to raise awareness and funds to fight kidney disease and show support for loved ones who are bravely living with the debilitating impacts of the disease.

According to Kidney Health Australia, 1.7 million Australians are affected by kidney disease but 1.5 million of those are unaware they’re living with the disease. “The shocking fact about kidney disease is that a person can lose up to 90% of their kidney function before any symptoms are apparent,” says Chris Forbes, CEO, Kidney Health Australia. “A person could be relatively fine one day and the next they could be in hospital facing a life sentence of continuous dialysis or on a transplant list, waiting for a suitable kidney donor.”

“We need to prevent people reaching this point so the Walks are a great opportunity to get the message out to the community to check their kidney health,” Mr Forbes said. The Walks help to fund vital early detection work, research and support activities such as the Transplant House and Big Red Kidney Bus programs. “Our fundraising target is $350,000 but we’d love to smash it so we can do more for our kidney community,” says Mr Forbes. “We urge everyone to dress in red and join us for a day of fun, entertainment and exercise and together let’s fight kidney disease.”

Read the media release here.


Health groups welcome action on food labelling

Food Labelling

Health groups welcome action on food labelling

The Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance, of which Kidney Health Australia is a member, has welcomed the decision to improve food labelling and provide clear and simple health information on food and drinks.

The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation made the announcement to progress added sugars labelling and further consider 10 recommendations to improve the Health Star Rating system.

According to the Alliance, the decision comes at a time when two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese, with unhealthy foods, including those high in added sugars, contributing greatly to excess energy intake and unhealthy weight gain.

Kidney Health Australia Clinical Director, A/Prof Shilpa Jesudason, said obesity was one of the risk factors of kidney disease, which affects 1 in 10 Australians.

“Lifestyle factors including unhealthy diets contribute to chronic kidney disease of any cause,” A/Prof Jesudason said.

 “Improving dietary choices through better information can help in the fight against obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases that go hand in hand with chronic kidney disease,” A/Prof Jesudason said.

The kidneys play a vital role in maintaining health and wellbeing by cleaning the blood of waste and filtering the waste out via urine. Around one to two litres of waste leaves the human body each day as urine.

To read the Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance media release click here.

NHMRC Project Grant to Benefit People with Kidney Disease

Kidney Health Australia are proud to be supporting a new international trial which could transform the treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and could benefit thousands of people in Australia.

Led by The George Institute with support from Bayer, Kidney Health Australia and leading researchers from around the world, the trial will evaluate whether a low dose of a blood-thinning medication, that is beneficial in people with cardiovascular disease, will also safely reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes and deaths with people with CKD.

"As the peak organisation for patients living with kidney disease, their families and community, Kidney Health Australia is excited to be partnering with The George Institute to bring the consumer voice to this study. Patient and consumer engagement at all stages of research design, trial implementation and knowledge dissemination adds enormous value to the quality, conduct and relevance of clinical trials,” says Dr Shilpa Jesudason, Clinical Director of Kidney Health Australia,

Around 2000 patients with CKD in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, India, China, Canada and the UK will take part in the five-year randomised trial and receive the blood thinning medication at a low dose to try to avoid associated side effects.

When completed it will be the first and the largest ever trial evaluating blood-thinning medications for people with CKD.

DonateLife Week 2018

Donate Life

During DonateLife Week 2018 (Sunday 29 July - Sunday 5 August) DonateLife invites all Australians to make their decision count by joining the Australian Organ Donor Register and sharing their views with family and friends.

Kidney Health Australia is proud to be part of DonateLife Week 2018. Organ and tissue donation gives recipients a second chance at life.

Registration is quick and easy to do online. It takes less than a minute and is important because it leaves your family in no doubt of your wish to be an organ and tissue donor. Registration has a direct influence on consent rates with nine in ten families saying yes to donation when their loved one was registered, so it’s important to register and discuss your views.”

Since 2009, more than 10,000 Australians have had their lives saved as a result of a transplant. In 2017, 1,675 lives were saved through the generosity of 510 deceased organ donors and their families and 273 living donors. Today around 1,400 Australians and their families are waiting for the call that a life-saving organ has become available. They are counting on the generosity of a donor, and their family, willing to give the gift of life. 

DonateLife Week is led by the Organ and Tissue Authority as part of the national DonateLife campaign and is supported by community events and activities across Australia. To join the Australian Organ Donor Register, or for more information visit

'Walking as One' in 2017 Big Red Kidney Walk

On Sunday, 10 September, people across Australia wore red fancy-dress outfits and ‘walked as one’ to raise awareness and much needed funds for kidney health.

Over 4,000 people attended walks with enthusiasm for ‘stepping it up for kidneys’. More than $200,000 was raised for kidney health; an all-time record for our annual walk attendance and fundraising.

In 2017, registrations almost doubled as new and experienced participants joined walks hosted in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Launceston and Adelaide, as well as community-initiated walks across the country. For the first year, dogs were invited to attend accompanying their owners.
‘Walking as one’ was an significant theme in 2017 Big Red Kidney Walk, with one participant reflecting that the highlight of the event was “seeing other people with the same challenges, of all ages…coming out and supporting each other”.

This year, we encouraged walk participants to share their stories of 'Why I Walk’. The stories illustrate the dedication that family, friends and health professionals share for people living with kidney disease and their loved ones. Stories show the diversity and similarities of our kidney community, such as “Our son was born with stage 4 kidney disease. We want to walk together and raise funds and awareness…”, “Im an indigenous person of Australia, I have lost family members from renal failure”, and “I am living with kidney cancer and not giving up”.

With 1 in 3 Australians at an increased risk of kidney disease, we are incredibly grateful for everyone who supported 2017 Big Red Kidney Walk, including participants, walk sponsors and volunteers.

Next year, we celebrate our 7th annual Big Red Kidney Walk on Sunday, 9 September. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Read more about the Big Red Kidney Walk, or see more about how you can help us.


2017 Kidney Kar Rally Raises Dust and Much Needed Funds

In August 2017, across eight action-packed days and 4,000kms, Kidney Kar Rally navigated from Griffith to Wagga Wagga via Tibooburra, through outback Australia raising much need funds, and kidney health awareness in outback communities.

Kidney Kar Rally is Kidney Health Australia’s longest standing event. Every year, teams rally across thousands of kilometres across Australia. As well as offering a thrilling experience for participants, the event raises much-needed funds to support Kidney Health Australia. In 2017, 62 cars participated in the event raising over $600,000 (before expenses).

Along the rally route, participants also embraced the opportunity to speak with local communities and schools about kidney health. A 2017 rally participant shared that the best thing about the event was “(the) camaraderie among the whole group, single mindedness of the group to raise funds”.

We thank everyone who supported 2017 Kidney Kar Rally, including our participants, supporters and volunteers. A special well done to highest fundraising teams Artline, Bathurst Surf Lifesaving Club and XPLANT.

In 2018, we’ll be celebrating our 30th annual Kidney Kar Rally during 3-11 August, traveling from Goulburn to Queanbeyan via Ballarat. Kidney Kar Rally is a great opportunity to make new friends who are participating for not only a great time but to support a good cause.

Visit to read about the upcoming rally and rally history. Or see more about how you can help us.




New Drug Offers Hope to Kidney Cancer Patients

The Federal Government recently announcedthat OPDIVO (nivolumab) has been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme as second-line treatment for patients with advanced (stage 4) clear cell kidney cancer.

Kidney cancer is the 9th most common cancer in Australia with around 3,500 people diagnosed every year. Clear cell carcinoma is the most common form of kidney cancer, and accounts for approximately 75% of kidney cancer cases. 

By the time it gets to an advanced stage, kidney cancer has spread widely outside the kidney, to the abdominal cavity, the adrenal glands, distant lymph nodes or to other organs, such as the lungs, liver, bones or brain. Sadly, this stage of cancer is unlikely to be cured, however treatments can help to make life as long and as normal as possible for patients.

While surgery is usually the first course of treatment for those with kidney cancer, unfortunately it does not cure people with advanced kidney cancer, meaning additional pharmaceutical treatment may then be recommended. This is also true of patients who have undergone surgery, only to have the cancer recur.

Pharmaceutical therapies include ‘tyrosine kinase’ inhibitors (TKIs) and ‘mammalian target of rapamycin’ (mTOR) inhibitors. More recently, immunotherapies have also become an option. These therapies have revolutionised the treatment of advanced cancers by turning them into more of a manageable ‘chronic disease’and prolonging life expectancy.  

At Kidney Health Australia, we often hear from frustrated patients in Australia who are aware of immunotherapies but do not have access to a subsidised, government supported treatment option (such as those available in the United States and major European countries), even though they have clearly shown to be effective in improving their outcome and quality of life.

As the peak body for kidney disease, Kidney Health Australia has advocated for an effective, alternative, and equitable treatment option for people with advanced kidney cancer in Australia, which should include listing such drugs on the PBS so they are accessible and affordable for all patients. We are delighted by this recent development, and commend the Federal Government for recognising this crucial need and approving the PBS listing quickly.

If you or someone you love has advanced kidney cancer, we urge you to discuss your suitability for OPDIVO with your doctor–access to this treatment via the PBS could have a significant impact on your quality of life, without the financial burden. For more information on this treatment visit OPDIVO.

Do you have kidney cancer questions, or just need to talk to someone who is informed and empathetic? You can contact Kidney Health Australia’s ‘Kidney Health Information Service’ (KHIS) any time by calling 1800 454 363, or emailing [email protected] to speak to a trained healthcare professional.

Learn more about kidney cancer through our fact sheets here




Melbourne Ice Turns on Warm Welcome for Kidney Kids

Brothers Joel and Mitchell Sullivan with Melbourne Ice’s Bobby Lipsett

The ice might have been cold and slippery, but Melbourne Ice laid on a warm welcome for the kidney community at O’Brien Group Arena in Melbourne’s Docklands last Sunday, 6 August.

More than 100 membes of the community attended the event and for many it was their first time at an ice hockey match.

It was a double-header weekend for Melbourne Ice as they lined up against reigning Goodall Cup champions Newcastle North Stars. On the Saturday, Melbourne Ice came back from a 2-1 deficit to win 7-4 win.

They turned it on again for their special guests, the Kidney Kids, on the Sunday, with a winning margin of 4 to 1.

Kidney Health Australia has been in a partnership with Melbourne Ice for the past three months and Sunday’s event was a chance to celebrate our new relationship.

Joey Hughes catches up with Kidney Kids and friends

Joey Hughes catches up with Kidney Kids and friends



Jade Commerford drops the puck to get the match underway 


Triple kidney transplant recipient Jade Sandison with Melbourne Ice player Joey Hughes

Triple kidney transplant recipient Jade Sandison with Melbourne Ice player Joey Hughes


Billy the Kidney cuddles up with KHA’s Tracey Matters

Billy BIlly the Kidney cuddles up with KHA’s Tracey Matters

DonateLife Week 2017

During DonateLife Week 2017 (Sunday 30 July - Sunday 6 August) DonateLife invites all Australians to make their decision count by joining the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Led by the Organ and Tissue Authority, DonateLife Week is a key part of the Australian Government’s national reform program to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes.

The aim of increasing the number of registered donors was given added support with last week’s launch by the Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP of the new online donor registration form at

Thanks to the new registration form at, it is now faster and easier than ever to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register.

As part of the announcement of the new online registration form, Minister Wyatt also announced the Australian Football League (AFL) – DonateLife partnership. This partnership is a key part of the Australian Government’s national donor online registration campaign. The partnership with the AFL and AFLW will directly contribute to the online donor registration campaign by driving consistent and frequent messages across multiple channels and platforms, including during DonateLife Week.

More than 90 events and activities have been registered for DonateLife Week 2017, such as community BBQs, morning teas, sports events, and much more. To keep up to date with events, visit the DonateLife events page.

Today more than 1,400 Australians and their families are waiting for a life-saving transplant. If you are willing to one day save lives by becoming an organ and tissue donor, register, and discuss your decision with your family and friends. Register at

New Partnership with Softball Australia

Kidney Health Australia has recently become Softball Australia’s charity of choice.

Australia's softball history began in 1939 when Gordon Young, Director of Physical Education in NSW, began to promote the game in schools and colleges. Softball has been a major sport in the schools program for some time now and it is estimated that more than 250,000 children play the game.

Eight Australian Championships are played each year: Women's, Men's, Under 23 Women and Men, Under 19 Women and Men, and Under 16 Girls and Boys. No matter how old you are or what your skill level is, Softball Australia has something for everyone.

Softball Australia and Kidney Health Australia share common goals: to promote a healthy lifestyle through sport and to help prevent kidney disease. With that in mind, the two organisations have joined forces to boost awareness about the benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle.

With 1 in 3 Australians at increased risk of kidney disease, our health message can now be shared with a large audience of softball players and supporters. 

We thank Softball Australia for their support and look forward to working together.

For more information visit

Important Information about Scams and Illegal Kidney Transactions

By Dr Campbell Fraser

Online patient support groups are an invaluable resource for people living with kidney disease.  Sadly, throughout the world, criminal gangs attempt to abuse these resources in order to lure vulnerable patients with promises of a kidney transplant overseas. 

Many online advertisements offering kidneys for sale are scams.  Several patients have lost thousands of dollars after sending money overseas as pre-payment for what they believe to be a kidney transplant. After electronically transferring funds, the “brokers” disappear and the money is lost forever. Some patients have lost over $100,000 by becoming involved with these scammers.

Even if the offer of an overseas transplant turns out to be genuine, you should remember that in almost all countries in the world, it is illegal to buy or sell a kidney.  Get caught and you could well find yourself with a long sentence in an overseas prison.

Kidney transplants in illegal clinics overseas also have very poor clinical outcomes. This is because:

  • Surgeons performing these transplants are often not qualified to perform complex procedures.
  • The transplant will likely be performed a small makeshift clinic lacking even the most basic surgical facilities.  These backstreet clinics offer no aftercare support, and provide no documentation regarding the origin of the kidney. They discharge patients as quickly as possible in order to avoid detection from authorities.
  • Patients are often detained in squalid conditions by the broker until the day of surgery, and they usually don’t know the name of the hospital or surgeon until the transplant takes place.
  • Patients are typically smuggled into the hospital, and the transplants performed during the night to avoid being caught.
  • These clinics care only about making money. They have no concern whatsoever regarding the success of the procedure.
  • Organs used will probably not have been checked for infectious diseases–patients have been known to contract HIV after receiving an infected kidney during an illegal transplant. There have been many patients who have died from infection following illegal overseas transplantation.
  • Kidneys are often not well matched to recipients, and due to surgical complications, patients may ultimately have to have their transplanted kidney surgically removed when they return home. 
  • Brokers usually keep asking for more money, even after the agreed sum has been paid.  There are many reports of patients being denied essential medication unless they pay exorbitant fees to obtain them.

Illegal overseas transplants are not just bad news for the potential recipient.

Kidneys are generally obtained from people who have trafficked far from home then forced into selling. They are often in a state of very poor health, and would never have been accepted to be a live kidney donor program in a legal transplant centre.

Sellers receive only a tiny fraction of the money you have paid, and almost always paid much less than they were promised. For this reason, kidney sellers will often beg for more money from patients after the transplant is completed.

The kidney will have been removed from the seller using crude surgical methods, which can result in lifelong disability for them. The seller is typically discharged without any follow up care, and they frequently develop serious infection shortly after.

Sometimes, illegal transplant clinics also use deceased donor organs that do not meet quality standards required by mainstream legal transplant centres, and this inevitably lead to very poor outcomes for patients who receive them.

The money raised from organ trafficking is frequently used to fund criminal organisations, and more recently, evidence shows that in some countries it is a major fundraising activity of terrorists.

If you are approached by someone online offering you an overseas kidney transplant–report it immediately.

Dr Campbell Fraser is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of International Business and Asian Studies, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Brisbane. His main area of interest is in the international human organ trade, and he travels extensively to engage with those who have been trafficked for their organs and liaise with health authorities, NGOs and law enforcement agencies leading the fight against human trafficking.

Campbell is a member of the Declaration of Istanbul Custodian Group, an international organisation tasked with combating transplant tourism. His work with this group involves advocating for the planning, development and implementation of anti-trafficking strategies throughout Asia.

Campbell is himself a kidney transplant recipient, and has first-hand experience of waiting for a donor organ to become available. It was through this journey that he developed his interest in organ donation and the illegal organ trade.

New Partnership with Melbourne Ice

Kidney Health Australia recently became the Charity and Volunteer Sponsor of Melbourne Ice Hockey Club.

Melbourne Ice are a semi-professional ice hockey team in the Australian Ice Hockey League. The alliance provides the chance for exposure and fundraising at home games and other key club events, as well as the opportunity to be part of their Ice Business Club, providing networking opportunities with other team sponsors.

With 1 in 3 Australians at increased risk of kidney disease, our health message can be shared with a large audience of passionate ice hockey fans and members.

The team plays its home games at the O'Brien Group Arena in Melbourne, and we encourage our kidney community to come along to a game and show their support.

View Melbourne Ice game fixture here. 

See details about 'Social Softball for Kidney Health' fundraising game on 30 October in Melbourne here. Everyone is welcome to join in!

New Clinical Director joins KHA

Image courtesy of The University of Adelaide

Kidney Health Australia warmly welcomes new Clinical Director, Dr Shilpa Jesudason, who officially joins Kidney Health Australia this month. Dr Jesudason will be a great asset to Kidney Health Australia. She is warm and compassionate, an experienced clinician, educator and researcher, with a patient-focussed understanding of the impact of kidney disease on Australians.

Dr Jesudason is a dedicated nephrologist and will be instrumental in our work to save and improve the lives of Australians affected by kidney disease. She will provide strategic advice to the organisation, and engage with patients, carers, and the nephrology community on behalf of our organisation and stakeholders.

Dr Jesudason has been specialising in management of pregnancy-related issues in women with renal disease, including all stages of chronic kidney disease; dialysis and transplant patients; living kidney donors and women with hypertension.

Dr Jesudason is based in Adelaide and will continue her consultancy work in Adelaide renal centres and hospitals, as she also forges a strong path at Kidney Health Australia.

* Image courtesy of The University of Adelaide.

MasterChef Cooks up for Kidney Health Australia

Masterchef visits South Melbourne

Kidney Health Australia and South Melbourne Market was featured on an exciting episode of MasterChef this week, as 16 MasterChef contestants cooked up a feast for hundreds of market-goers.

During the filming earlier this year, we opened our Kidney Health Australia headquarters located on Cecil Street, across the road from the markets to the MasterChef production team. MasterChef was so touched by the kidney health cause, that they donated a total of $13,728 to our national kidney charity!

The MasterChef donation was the total of the sales money made by the contestants, who were split into teams of four and given the challenge of making as many street-style dishes as possible.

Kidney Health Australia CEO, Mikaela Stafrace, thanked MasterChef and all the contestants for a great episode and for the donation, which will go to supporting Australians affected by kidney disease.

Ms Stafrace said it was fantastic that such a prominent show like MasterChef had chosen to highlight kidney disease, which affected 1.7 million Australians. “There’s still a gap in understanding within the wider community of the critical role kidneys play in our health, such as filtering toxins out of our blood. When our kidneys shut down, our bodies shut down.”

“It was great fun to have the MasterChef crew on board for the day and we look forward to watching the rest of the MasterChef season. The wonderful fresh produce often used in the show encourages all Australians to cook healthy meals, which benefits our kidney health and overall well-being.”

MasterChef is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Network Ten—airing 7.30pm AEST, Sunday to Thursday. To view previous episodes, including the South Melbourne Market challenge visit

Thank You for Your Support in 2016

This year at Kidney Health Australia has been a time of change and growth. In 2016 we’ve had an opportunity to view how we can best continue to support Australia’s kidney community, as well as advocate and educate the community and all Australians.

You’ll hear more over the next few months about an exciting new initiative, in which we will invite you, our kidney community, to provide direct feedback to us.

We’ve also been looking at how we can strengthen key events and I’m happy to announce that in 2017,  to align with World Kidney Day, our own Kidney Health Week will be held across 5–11 March; World Kidney Day will be held on 9 March.

Our passion and vision to improve the lives of people affected by kidney disease, to raise awareness, advocate for programs and policies, and support important research, remains stronger than ever. 

Thank you to all the Kidney Health Australia staff and volunteers who have worked so hard this year and to the kidney community for your invaluable support. Our key fundraising and awareness events, such as the Kidney Kar Rally and the Kidney Health Research Walk were great successes in 2016, and a testimony to the absolute commitment of you all.

On behalf of everyone at Kidney Health Australia, I’d like to wish all the very best for a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.

Mikaela Stafrace
Kidney Health Australia

Five Steps to Good Kidney Care

kidney health vitamins

What can you eat and drink when you have kidney disease, to stay as healthy as possible? All kidneys need a diet that is low in salt and sugar to be as healthy as possible. As kidney disease progresses, extra diet and fluid restrictions may be needed to keep a person living with kidney disease healthy. Here are some tips on how to take charge of kidney health and nutrition following diagnosis and beyond.

1.      Learn about a healthy diet for you

Working with a dietician is advisable if you need to lose weight, or if your doctor recommends that you need to change your fluid, phosphate, protein or potassium intake. Getting expert advice on what to eat and drink from an expert will take a load off your mind and also ensure your individual needs are met. Speak to your doctor about getting a referral to your preferred local dietitian.

2.          Your first appointment with a dietitian

Before your appointment, write down what you eat daily and take the list with you. Take a list of your medications. If someone else normally cooks for you, ask them to go with you. Prepare and ask questions so that you feel confident about what you need to do, and why. Organise regular follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.

3.      Kidney-friendly foods and what to avoid

As your kidney disease progresses, your doctor may recommend you change your intake of protein, phosphate, potassium, sodium/salt and fluids. For example too much salt and fluid may cause high blood pressure, swelling of ankles, feet, hands and puffiness under the eyes, shortness of breath and increased protein in urine.

Foods that have a lot of sodium include seasonings, sauces, canned foods and some frozen foods, processed meats, snack foods, stock mixes and packaged soups and take-away food. Beware of salt substitutes as some contain potassium instead of sodium. You can find kidney-friendly recipes in our resources library.

 4.     Maintaining a healthy weight

Weight loss and weight gain can be a major issue when trying to look after yourself and your kidneys. Obesity may cause complications for dialysis causing unsuitability for a kidney transplant. Your dietitian can help you maintain a healthy weight, with kidney vitamin supplements and ways of preparing food that will be palatable, no matter if you feel ill, or experience a loss of appetite. 

5.     Vitamins, minerals and supplements

Your usual vitamin regime may not be adequate or suitable once you have been diagnosed with kidney disease. Speak to your kidney health team about whether a multivitamin, such as KidneyVital, might be helpful for you.

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I’m a carer for a 74-year-old patient with kidney disease, who has been on peritoneal dialysis for over a year now. His kidney specialist recommended Kidney Vital and we have definitely noticed benefits; we would not want to stop taking it. I would definitely recommend this product to other people with kidney disease.

Lynette, NSW

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Formulated by kidney specialists specifically for people living with all stages of kidney disease, KidneyVital contains the correct daily doses of essential vitamins and minerals - and excludes those that can be toxic for kidney patients - in one tablet. KidneyVital can be purchased online, or by calling 1800 454 363.

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