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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Community involvement needed to improve eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Date posted: 17 March 2014

Poor health related to vision impairment and cataracts are prominent issues among the Indigenous population. Health experts have met in Melbourne to discuss what needs to be done to 'close the gap' in eye health. 'We were looking at the lessons learnt by nine different health regions who've been working on improving eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,' said the chair of Indigenous Eye Health at Melbourne University, Professor Hugh Taylor.

The latest national report released to improve the eye health of Indigenous people outlined that national oversight, increased resources and a specialised model of care was necessary to 'close the gap'. 'One of the most important things we've got to get across is it must be Aboriginal led and it has to be with us, not for us, to make the changes that are required to the system,' said CEO of NACCHO, Lisa Briggs.

But the report also notes that millions of dollars will be required to fully deliver on its recommendations. 'It doesn't take much money at all. A lot of it can be done with existing resources and it's something that can be done very quickly, essentially restoring people's vision overnight if the services are in place,' said Professor Taylor.

'There is sufficient help out there, it's just a matter of getting the resources to the people in a timely fashion,' said Gary Crerie from the Optometrists Association Australia.

Community health workers are now waiting for the May budget to see how much more financial assistance they will receive.

Source: NITV news


Last updated: 9 May 2014
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