The affordable dialysis project

The Affordable Dialysis Project

Research undertaken by The George Institute for Global Health published in the Lancet in 2015 shows that, in 2010, around 2.6 million people received renal replacement therapy (RRT, includes both dialysis and kidney transplant) worldwide.By 2030 the number of people requiring RRT is predicted to double to about 5.4 million, with most of the growth in developing countries. It was estimated that up to 7million people in 2010 may have died prematurely because of lack of access to RRT. Dialysis techniques currently available can cost as much as US$100,000 per patient per year and so are simply unaffordable for patients in many of the countries where access to RRT is lowest [1].

Our survey highlighted the need to a develop new, simple and low-cost treatment alternative form of dialysis treatment for kidney failure.

To address this need the George Institute announced the US$100,000 Affordable Dialysis Prize in 2015.  Entries were received from all over the world [2]. 

The competition was won by Irish inventor and engineer Vincent Garvey. His prize winning system uses peritoneal dialysis (PD), the lowest cost form of dialysis. It describes a simple portable distiller which can sterilise water in places where the electricity supply is unreliable and the water supply may be contaminated. The water is used to fill PD bags at the point of care. The still fits into a small suitcase and the running costs are just a few dollars a day.

Ellen Medical Devices (EMD) was founded by the George Institute for Global Health and Vincent Garvey in December 2016 to bring this innovative treatment system to kidney patients around the world .

EMD has established strong working partnerships with several of Australia’s leading biomedical engineering product development companies. Currently, we are building working prototypes to run a series of rigorous tests of efficacy and safety in the laboratory. Our plan is to complete the design and testing process in 2020 and begin human trials in 2021.


  1. Liyanage, T., et al., Worldwide access to treatment for end-stage kidney disease: a systematic review. The Lancet, 2015. 385(9981): p. 1975-1982.