With services in remote communities across the Northern Territory, combined with the Purple Truck mobile dialysis unit, Purple House is providing life-saving treatment and education to tackle one of the Northern Territory’s biggest health and social challenges, chronic kidney disease.
The rate of chronic kidney disease in the Northern Territory is significantly higher than in other parts of Australia, with the indigenous population at increased risk of renal failure.
Purple House is the Pintupi Luritja people of Kiwirrkurra, Mount Liebig and Kintore’s response to concerns that indigenous communities are being stripped of their leadership, as elders suffering renal failure have been forced to leave their homelands for dialysis.
While many patients still have to travel for treatment, Purple House helps them to find accommodation, access Centrelink benefits, and return to country on a regular basis.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Western Desert Dialysis and Purple House chief executive, Sarah Brown, said: “It is incredible recognition of a whole heap of hard work from people over many years”.
“They couldn’t get any government help at the time, so they painted some beautiful pictures, raise a million bucks in one night at the Art Gallery of NSW and set about developing a way of doing dialysis out bush and getting people home.”
Through Purple House, the Western Desert Dialysis Program has developed its own social enterprise producing traditional indigenous remedies under the Bush Balm range of rubs, soaps, moisturisers and lip balms, which can be purchased through the organisation’s e-commerce platform.
Purple House also fits into the Northern Territory Department of Health’s Northern Territory Renal Service Strategy 2017-2022, which identified the need for “a broad range of effective partnerships between individuals, families and communities and their local health services including Northern Territory Government primary care clinics, Aboriginal Community-Controlled health clinics, other non-governmental organisations and private sector providers”.T
The Telstra Northern Territory Business Awards judges believe Purple House has “introduced a game changing model for dialysis services nationally”, and identified its use of diverse funding streams as a key strength.
“[It’s having a] great social impact on regional communities,” the judges said.“
Not only do they support the community medically, they [also] assist in providing emotional support and help educate and bring awareness [of the importance of dialysis and kidney health] via their mobile dialysis service.”
The business also took home the 2018 Telstra Northern Territory Social Change Maker Award.
Celebrating its 26th year, the Telstra Business Awards showcase the achievements and entrepreneurial spirit of Australia’s best small and medium businesses.
Other winners at the 2018 Telstra Northern Territory Business Awards include:
- HK Holistic Health Klub, a five-star gym that provides its members with access to exercise, nutritional and rehabilitation advice, was named the 2018 Telstra Northern Territory Emerging and Energised Business Award winner.
- True North Strategic Communication, a strategic communications consultancy with a history of working in the Territory, took home the 2018 Telstra Northern Territory Small and Succeeding Business Award.
- Dreamedia Events, an event company that has created and produced major events across the Territory from Darwin to Uluru, won the 2018 Telstra Northern Territory Medium and Making Waves Award.