NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health News : 2017 Annual Update on the Implementation of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision


“At the beginning of this work, rates of blindness and impaired vision were up to six times higher than for non-Indigenous populations. This rate now stands at three times more than the national rate. This is a very encouraging improvement but more needs to be done.

With on-going work from all stakeholders, we are determined to close the gap for Indigenous vision by 2020,”

Professor Hugh Taylor, who last  week launched the 2017 Annual Update of the Roadmap at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists Annual Scientific Congress in Perth.

Blindness among Indigenous communities is on track to drop to the same rate as non-Indigenous communities by 2020, thanks to work spearheaded by University of Melbourne eye health expert Professor Hugh Taylor.

The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision was launched by the University of Melbourne Indigenous Eye Health group in 2012 and is now active in 37 regions covering over 60 per cent of the nation’s Indigenous population.

Note NACCHO is a partner in this project

Read over 40 NACCHO Aboriginal Eye Health articles published by NACCHO over past 5 years HERE

NACCHO Note : See below :  Join in on a free eye health webinar on the 8th of November

Photo above : Thank you Jasmin Boys from the Indigenous Eye Health team for your support and engagement at our #NACCHOagm2017 in Canberra

Successes that support the Roadmap include increased funding of cataract surgery, optometry and ophthalmology visits, new Medicare listings supporting screening of eye care, health promotion, regional and jurisdictional oversight and new diabetic retinopathy cameras and training.

Professor Taylor says the 2017 update shows progress is being made on every recommendation in the Roadmap but he says ongoing systems reform and some increased funding would enable even better delivery of services within communities.

Download the report HERE : 2017-AnnualUpdate Close the Gap for Vision

The University of Melbourne team are part of the effort along with Indigenous leaders, partners and community members to eliminate trachoma from Australia, particularly through programs to encourage clean faces.

“We are the only developed nation with endemic trachoma. It is only found in Indigenous communities. We need more timely reporting of data to allow more intense targeted intervention in hot spots,” Professor Taylor says.

“There is also a need for cross-portfolio activity orchestrated by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to ensure functional and safe bathrooms in these communities.”

NACCHO Promotion

Join in on a free eye health webinar on the 8th of November

 A free, one hour webinar, Eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes: what can primary health care staff do? is brought to you by the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet and The Fred Hollows Foundation.

There is real concern about rising levels of diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the complications that are associated with this. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a serious eye condition that can lead to vision loss and blindness among people with diabetes if it isn’t managed appropriately.

Dr Fabrizio D’Esposito, Research Advisor at The Fred Hollows Foundation, will be talking with us from London about key priorities and new approaches for addressing DR among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There will also be time to talk briefly about information on the Eye health web resource, including a new series of multimedia DR resources developed to support the primary health care workforce, and to respond to questions from webinar participants.

The webinar will be held on Wednesday, 8 November at:

  • 4pm AEDT (NSW, Vic and Tas)
  • 3.30pm ACDT (SA)
  • 3pm AEST (Qld)
  • 2.30pm ACST (NT)
  • 1pm AWST (WA).

We hope you will join us. To attend, simply click on this link about five minutes before the webinar is due to start. If you have any questions before the webinar please refer to the contact details below.



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