Australia is one step closer to closing the eye health gap following the Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash’s announcement of $6.63 million for Indigenous eye health.
Vision 2020 Australia has welcomed the funding announcement to improve eye care coordination, national oversight and trachoma health promotion activities over the next four years.
The campaign is #SnapforSight with the call to action ‘get your eyes tested’ and we are asking people, organisations to take a photo of something they cherish and share it across their social media platforms from 1 October onwards.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck said she was pleased the Federal Government had recognised the importance of good vision for social, educational and employment participation of Indigenous Australians.
“Blindness rates in Indigenous people are unacceptable,” Ms Gersbeck said. “Currently blindness in Indigenous adults is six times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians with vision loss rates three times higher,” she said.
The new funding will support eye care coordination to make sure patients are getting the care they need and to monitor progress across the country. It will also help eliminate the blinding eye condition trachoma still endemic in some remote Indigenous communities.
Ms Gersbeck said the funding was a direct result of a collaborative sector proposal which was submitted to Minister Nash earlier this year outlining eight key recommendations to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health and vision care.
“Coordination and oversight is key to making the system work more effectively and efficiently and will enable us to identify where the shortfalls are in the system,” she said.
Ms Gersbeck praised the work of the eye health and vision care sector which came together to develop the proposal.
“Significant work has been done by the sector to improve service planning and delivery and this funding increase takes us one step further in helping to improve the eye health of Indigenous Australians
Vision 2020 Australia has identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as a key population group.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee was formed in 2005 to provide a forum to facilitate collaboration among member organisations that are committed to eliminating avoidable blindness and reducing the impact of vision loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Committee works closely with the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Heath Organisation and its affiliates to ensure its strategies are consistent with priorities identified by Aboriginal Medical Service providers in all states and territories.
Through this collaboration, improvements in service delivery and culturally appropriate awareness raising initiatives are identified and advanced.
- Membership on Visiting Optometrists Scheme National Advisory Committee
- Membership on Eye Health Teams for Rural Australia National Committee
- Membership on VACKH (Victorian Aboriginal Committee on Koori Health)
- Membership on Vision CRC Models for vision care delivery
Vision 2020 Australia acknowledges funding from The Fred Hollows Foundation for its work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocacy.
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