Govt strategy to improve eye care for Indigenous Australians
The Australian government on Thursday signed a statement on establishing a new collaborative framework and strategy to improve the provision of eye care in central Australia for the Aboriginal population.
The federal government will work with The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation and the Northern Territory government.
Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowden said it was an "absolute tragedy" that in the past indigenous people had become vision impaired or blind due to a lack of access to surgery.
"Access to comprehensive eye health care services, including specialist care and surgery, is critical if eye health conditions are to be detected and treated as early as possible," he said in a statement.
"Indigenous adults are 6.2 times more likely to go blind and 2. 8 times more likely to be vision impaired than the non-indigenous population," he added.
About 50 patients will benefit from the intensive eye surgery blitz, which will take place at the Alice Springs Hospital from April 19 to 23.
It will be the ninth intensive eye surgery week that has occurred in central Australia since 2007, resulting in 416 procedures to date.
The strategy is part of the federal government's 58.3 million Australian dollar (53.8 million U.S. dollars) commitment to Improving Eye and Ear Health Services for Indigenous Australians for Better Education and Employment, unveiled in 2009.