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Launch of the 2017 Annual Update on the Implementation of the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision

Date posted: 2 November 2017

The 2017 Annual update on the implementation of the roadmap to close the gap for vision was launched at a special event during the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists annual congress in Perth on Monday 30 October. The Honorable Fred Chaney formally launched the update, which highlighted key achievements and progress made over the last 12 months on activities to close the gap for vision between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Professor Taylor from the University of Melbourne's School of Population and Global Health said that progress is being made on every recommendation. He added that ongoing systems reform and some increased funding would enable even better delivery of services within communities.

The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision was launched by the University of Melbourne Indigenous Eye Health group in 2008 and is now active in 37 regions covering over 60 per cent of the nation's Indigenous population. The Roadmap 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.

The Commonwealth government has provided longer term funding to the eye health sector for a range of activities including oversight, coordination, eye surgery support initiatives and the provision of retinal cameras for Aboriginal Medical Services.

'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,' says Professor Taylor.

The 2017 Annual update on the implementation of the roadmap to close the gap for vision demonstrates that progress is being made to improve Indigenous eye health outcomes across Australia, and all stakeholders in the eye health sector have a role to play to close the gap for vision by 2020.

Source: University of Melbourne's School of Population and Global Health

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Last updated: 10 November 2017
 
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