The Australian Government has announced it will contribute a further AU$2.5 million to extend the Provision of Eye Health Equipment and Training program, which is equipping communities, across all states and territories with retinal cameras, training and mentoring for primary health care professionals. Funding means approximately 150 cameras will be installed in 105 sites across Australia by June 2020 to support basic screening for diabetic retinopathy within primary care settings.
The program, which is co-led by Brien Holden Vision Institute and the Australian College of Optometry, working with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, Centre for Eye Health, and Optometry Australia, aims to increase rates of annual retinal checks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes.
The funding will also support design and delivery of a new educational course, including workshops with GPs, health service managers and other associated staff.
Maureen O’Keefe, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian College of Optometry welcomed the additional support. “The commitment of the Australian Government to improving equity of eye health access and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can clearly be seen in this funding extension for the Provision of Eye Health Equipment and Training program, with the total funding of $7.3m enabling provision of retinal cameras and training across Australia. The embedding of this program in a sustainable way at community level continues to be the highest priority as the program is implemented.”