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Australian named an eye health hero

03/10/2018By Matthew Woodley
An Australian optometrist has been recognised as an ‘Eye Health Hero’ by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

The Eye Health Heroes initiative recognises people whose work in the field and engagement with the community makes a difference in restoring sight and preventing blindness.

Australian College of Optometry (ACO) staff member, Ms Anagha Joshi, was recognised for providing quality eyecare to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities who would not have otherwise had access, such as disability homes, homeless people and community centres.

Joshi also helps coordinate and deliver services for Indigenous Australians, including those based in remote communities, and says solutions to healthcare problems are multifaceted, complex and must be driven and owned by the local communities.


“I envisage a future where there is access to sustainable eyecare for all, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity or border.”
Anagha Joshi, ACO

Aside from her local work, Joshi is a founding member of the Australian South Asian Healthcare Association (ASHA), which provides healthcare education programs to impoverished communities in South Asia. Through this role she led several teams of volunteer optometrists to India, where her work has focused on providing upskilling programs directed at hospital and community optometrists and healthcare workers.

“The term ‘vision’ is multidimensional. For an optometrist, it is related to sight and acuity; in a broader sense it means the ability to think progressively and have an aim for the future,” Joshi said.

“Through my experiences in eyecare; working as an optometrist in Aboriginal communities with the ACO and as the eyecare coordinator of the Australian South Asian Healthcare Association charity, I have been fortunate to gain the understanding of both dimensions of the word. I envisage a future where there is access to sustainable eyecare for all, regardless of socio-economic status, ethnicity or border.”

ACO CEO Ms Maureen O’Keefe also attended the IAPB awards ceremony in Hyderabad, India, and said the college was “very proud” of Joshi.

“The important work Anagha does both in Australia and India working to improve eye health outcomes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people makes her a very deserving recipient of the award,” O’Keefe said.

“She has shown great leadership through collaboration and empowering of others and is a valuable member of the ACO team.”

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Joshi’s next move is to pursue a Masters in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, starting at the end of 2018, to help expand her charitable and outreach work.

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