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Roadmap to close the gap for vision report launched

Posted on: 12 March, 2012
Issue: Vol 12 No 1, January 2012 – March 2012
Related to Closing the gap Eye health Research

The Indigenous Eye Health Unit at the University of Melbourne have released the full report of Roadmap to close the gap for vision, the first comprehensive framework that aims to ‘close the gap’ on Indigenous eye health. It was officially launched in Adelaide on 23 February 2012 by the Hon. Warren Snowdon, Minister for Indigenous Health.

The report draws together more than five years extensive research and consultation by University of Melbourne academics and authors: Professor Hugh Taylor, Melbourne Laureate Professor; Harold Mitchell, Chair of Indigenous Eye Health and Andrea Boudville and Mitchell Anjou of the Indigenous Eye Health Unit.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are currently six times more likely to go blind than the general population and 94 percent of the vision loss is unnecessary, preventable, or treatable. Professor Taylor said there was no reason for Indigenous Australians to go blind unnecessarily and is calling for support from all governments, federal and state and territory to fund $70 million over five years to implement the ‘Roadmap’.

The ‘Roadmap’ provides policy advice and costs-estimates to eliminate unnecessary vision loss, primary eye care, refractive services, cataract, diabetic eye disease and trachoma. The report stresses the assessment of population-based needs, good coordination, performance monitoring and accountability, and builds on community consultation and control and the regional delivery of services and the National Health Reforms.

‘I am delighted that Minister Snowdon has launched the “Roadmap”. We have worked hard and consulted widely to ensure the recommendations are comprehensive and are well supported by the sector and Indigenous community. The “Roadmap” will facilitate system changes to improve access to eye care and reduce unnecessary vision loss for Indigenous Australians,’ Professor Taylor said.

‘The next steps for Closing the gap on Indigenous eye health – we hope – is the Federal Government’s commitment to the “Roadmap” and funding its staged introduction,’ he said.

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