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Deadly resources launched to close the eye health gap in Victoria

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The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the Vision Initiative will be launching a suite of culturally appropriate eye health promotion materials at Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative on Friday 18 November at 11.30am.
 
Jill Gallagher, CEO of VACCHO, expressed her strong concern that vision impairment and blindness among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people is still three times that of non-Indigenous Australians.
 
“The launch of these new materials will be an important step towards closing the eye health gap for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria,” says Ms Gallagher.
 
“The need for these materials was made clear following our consultation with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Victoria. We identified a shortage of culturally appropriate eye health promotion literature and training resources for Aboriginal health workers,” says Ms Gallagher. “I feel these new communication tools will support our services in continuing their important promotion of eye health message throughout our communities.”
 
The new materials feature artwork by respected Wiradjuri / Yorta Yorta artist, Aunty Lyn Briggs, originally commissioned for VACCHO’s first eye health program eighteen years ago. Widely recognised by the Victorian eye health sector, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation staff, the new designs received unanimous approval during the extensive consultation process.
 
Vision Initiative Manager, Dee Tumino, says the new resources are the result of collaboration between many organisations and individuals.
 
“VACCHO, the Vision Initiative and the many Aboriginal community members and health workers, including those at Rumbalara, have come together to make this project a reality. The launch of these resources signifies a major step towards increasing awareness and understanding of eye health among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria,” says Ms Tumino.
 
The completed suite of eye health promotion materials include posters, appointment cards and information brochures that cover significant eye health conditions and issues, such as refractive error, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, smoking and vision loss, as well as accessing the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme.
 
Clinical expertise on the materials produced was provided by the Indigenous Eye Health Unit at the University of Melbourne and the Australian College of Optometry, who also provided VACCHO with additional funding to support the “$10 glasses for Community” resource that describes the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme.
 
Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative CEO, Kemal ‘Kim’ Sedick, is delighted to be hosting the launch event at Mooroopna.
 
“Staff at Rumbalara Health Service were integral to this work and have provided advice and assistance to set the framework for further consultation with the wider Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation workforce. With the launch event being held at Rumbalara I am pleased to be able to acknowledge their work, along with the work of all the organisations and individuals involved with this important step towards closing the eye health gap.”
 
View the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resources on the Vision Initiative website.
 

ENDS

For more information
Contact Adam Sawell, Communications Manager at Vision 2020 Australia.
T: 03 9656 2020 M: 0401 096 507 E: asawell@vision2020australia.org.au.
 

About VACCHO

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) was established in 1996. VACCHO is the peak body for the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people living in Victoria. 
 

About the Vision Initiative

The Vision Initiative is an integrated health promotion program managed by Vision 2020 Australia and funded by the Victorian Government. It aims to reduce avoidable blindness and vision loss across Victoria by delivering eye health interventions to primary health providers, community and media.
 

About Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-operative

Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative (RAC) is a community controlled organisation that offers a range of health and community services to the Greater Shepparton community. We are a large provider of services in the Greater Shepparton area, and are one of the largest providers of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Victoria. The organisation employs about 200 people and has a budget of nearly $20 million. RAC has 600 people registered as members or nearly 30% of the Greater Shepparton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
 

About Vision 2020 Australia

Established in October 2000, Vision 2020 Australia is part of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, a global initiative of the World Health Organization and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.
 
Vision 2020 Australia represents around 50 member organisations involved in: local and global eye care; health promotion; low vision support; vision rehabilitation; eye research; professional assistance and community support.
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