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New Funding Towards Eliminating Trachoma

mivision | 30 January 2017
Minister for Health Sussan Ley has announced much needed funding for Indigenous Australians just before the Federal Government closed for the Christmas break.

Trachoma is a preventable infectious eye disease which can lead to vision impairment and blindness. Some 50 developing countries throughout Africa and Asia are affected, particularly in rural areas where hygiene tends to be poor.

Australia is the only high-income country in the world with trachoma, which is prevalent in 60 per cent of outback communities.

Australia has committed to eliminate trachoma by the year 2020: This additional AU$20.8 million funding for trachoma activities will hopefully go a long way toward achieving this goal.

Despite being born with better eyesight than non-Indigenous Australians, the prevalence of blindness and vision impairment in Indigenous Australians is three times higher than non-Indigenous Australians. Trachoma is one of the culprits.

Through various efforts, rates of trachoma have dropped substantially: between 2008 and 2015 rates of trachoma in children in outback communities decreased from 21 per cent to 4.6 per cent.

“Australia has made good progress in reducing the rates of trachoma but more work is required to achieve its elimination by 2020” said Vision 2020 Australia CEO, Carla Northam.

Deputy Chair of Vision 2020 Australia and Harold Mitchell Chair of Indigenous Eye Health, ophthalmologist Professor Hugh Taylor said, “We are really seeing some striking progress but we still need to focus on the hot spots”.

' Australia has made good progress in reducing the rates of trachoma but more work is required to achieve its elimination by 2020 '