Given concerns about water quality and the burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and diabetes in the Northern Territory (NT), we will bring together and analyse readily available data to quickly, but systematically, deepen understanding of the nature and scope of the problem.
We will analyse results from de-identified blood and urine tests taken previously from individuals, provided by two pathology laboratories to the researchers, and water quality testing data from the NT’s single water company, from 2002 to 2019. Data will be collated and compared for approximately 80 remote NT communities. We will explore if there is any relationship between exposure to various water characteristics over time as indicated by the water quality testing data (including but not limited to heavy metals, and total dissolved solids - a measure of water palatability) and either:
- the burden or progression of measured CKD, or
- a measure of control of blood sugar (through collated individual results).
Communities with a demonstrated risk about water quality and/or associations between water quality and these two health outcomes can then be the focus of in-depth consultation and further detailed research and/or public health responses.
This project is a collaboration involving the NT Department of Health, AMSANT, the Northern and Central Land Councils, the NT Power & Water Corporation, Western Diagnostic Pathology and SA Pathology. It is led by the Menzies School of Health Research Renal Program.