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Millions to fund expansion of retinal camera program

25/07/2018By Matthew Woodley
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The Federal Government has provided an additional $2.5 million to fund retinal cameras and training for an extended eye health program servicing Indigenous Australians.

The Provision of Eye Health and Equipment Training program is currently rolling out retinal cameras, training and support to 105 health services sites across the country, and the additional funding will enable close to 150 cameras to be supplied by June 2020.

The equipment and training will support primary healthcare professionals undertaking basic screening for diabetic retinopathy in an effort to increase rates of annual retinal checks for Indigenous Australians with diabetes.


“At community level, our focus is firmly on ensuring the provision of cameras and our training is translating into skill uptake, enabling greater empowerment for participants to work more effectively on the ground.”
Mitasha Yu, BHVI’s regional director for Asia Pacific

In addition, the program extension also will fund the design and delivery of a new educational course aimed at embedding the retinal cameras into existing health services. This will include workshops with GPs, health service managers and other associated staff that play a role in integrating the new process into their practice.

The Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) and Australian College of Optometry (ACO) lead the program, in conjunction with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Centre for Eye Health and Optometry Australia.

“We are greatly pleased we have an extended opportunity to make further inroads towards addressing the inequalities in eyecare that exist within Australia,” BHVI’s regional director for the Asia Pacific Ms Mitasha Yu said.

“At community level, our focus is firmly on ensuring the provision of cameras and our training is translating into skill uptake, enabling greater empowerment for participants to work more effectively on the ground.”

ACO chief Ms Maureen O’Keefe also welcomed the additional support and said it had brought the total level of funding to $7.3 million.

“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,” she said.

“The embedding of this program in a sustainable way at community level continues to be the highest priority as the program is implemented.”

More reading
Government expands efforts to combat Indigenous blindness





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