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A focus on health, science and nutrition on World Kidney Day

World Kidney Day event, "That Sugar Film Screening" Thursday 9th March, 2017

The first Inspiring Australia event delivered by the Alice Springs Hub was held on World Kidney Day, Thursday 9th March at the Alice Springs Town Library.  The event aimed to promote awareness around Chronic Kidney Disease and included healthy living stalls, a panel discussion on kidney health and a free public screening of That Sugar Film.


The event was organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre as part of the Inspiring Australia project. The Inspiring Australia Alice Springs Hub aims to work with local partners in the region to deliver and support science engagement events. This event was a success, with new partnerships being forged between ALEC and other project partners, including Healthy Living NT, Charles Darwin University, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and Western Desert Dialysis. 


The night was promoted to all the health care providers in Alice Springs that work in the Chronic Kidney Disease area, ranging from renal services, diabetes educators and research institutes such as Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. All schools were contacted and an invitation placed in their school newsletters, with a personal invitation extended to those schools who have boarding facilities. Posters were put up at the Alice Springs Public Library and around town, including schools and one sporting association.  ALEC promoted it online through Facebook and it’s fortnightly ‘Thorny Devils’ newsletter. The library also promoted it on their website, and it was also marketed through the Red Hot Arts Central Australia e-newsletter. 


A total of 90 people attended the event, with approximately 80 people staying for the panel discussion and That Sugar Film. Healthy food and healthy living stalls were prepared by Healthy Living NT, Congress and Charles Darwin University. The stalls were interesting and engaging, particularly those with a health component, such as CDU nursing students who took peoples blood sugar levels, and Healthy Living NT who measured blood pressure and heart rate.

The panel had an interesting and educational discussion on the challenges faced locally with diet, obesity and Chronic Kidney Disease.  The panel of local experts included Donna Ah Chee from Congress, Morgan Hitchcock from Western Desert Dialysis, Sue Delacy from Healthy Living NT and Alex McClean from Arid Edge Environmental Services. There was a call for action from all stakeholders to help stop the high rates of Chronic Kidney Disease that are currently experienced by Central Australians. Education was identified as a critical solution, particularly targeting young people.  Support was received for Arid Edge Environmental Services remote horticulture projects, which provides support for growing vegetables on homelands and providing nutritional education to families.

That Sugar Film was an interesting, humorous and entertaining way to engage the general community in the science of sugar and its effects on the human body. The film was well received. 

The most important outcome of the night resulted from the partnerships developed between ALEC and the health care providers. We are now working on a draft project proposal focusing on healthy lunchboxes and a healthy canteen policy, which generate lower levels of single use plastic packaging.   

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