Assistant Minister for Health Fiona Nash has announced funding of AU$6.63 million for Indigenous eye health over the next four years. 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.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Jennifer Gersbeck welcomed the funding and 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,” said Ms. Gersbeck. “Currently blindness in Indigenous adults is six times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians with vision loss rates three times higher.”
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. “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.”