Making scarce and impure bore water in The Centre’s outback fit for use in medical dialysis has earned Alice local Michael C Smith (pictured) a Distinguished Alumni Award from Flinders University in Adelaide.
“I’m proud that one of my designs is working today in Kiwirrkurra, Australia’s most remote Aboriginal community,” says Dr Smith.
“It is keeping the fluoride out of the dialysis water and saving thousands of litres of water every week.”
He also acknowledged that “this project really required lots of other people to step up and put in the time”.
Dr Smith works in design and support of “robust desert-suitable” dialysis systems with greater water and energy efficiency.
As a teenager his dream was to work in international poverty relief. Later his mission has taken him across the world, working in remote locations on different continents.
After completing his PhD at Flinders in 2016, Dr Smith found his expertise and strong moral compass was needed closer to home.
His employer, Purple House, operates clinics and a mobile dialysis unit across the most remote parts of Australia where Indigenous people are up to 25 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease.
“Some places have trouble with designs, some with maintenance, some struggle to train and retain decent plant operators,” says Dr Smith.
Large numbers of people have no option but to relocate to access healthcare.