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ALP Pacific eye health policy welcomed by vision sector

MEDIA RELEASE

Vision 2020 Australia has welcomed the ALP’s announcement that it is committed to re-investing in eye health in the Pacific region should it take government at the upcoming Federal election.
 
Good vision has a wide range of social and economic benefits and some of the common causes of vision loss such as cataracts and uncorrected refractive error can be readily fixed.
 
More than 40,000 people in the Pacific are blind and a further 170,000 have a vision impairment. The region has some of the highest rates of avoidable blindness in the world.
 
The Labor Party has committed to providing $32 million to a new Pacific Blindness and Vision Loss Fund to address declining eye health across the region. We now call on the current Australian Government to match that commitment.
 
The Pacific Blindness and Vison Loss Fund will primarily focus on treating significant eye diseases, strengthening health systems and training health personnel.
 
This is an important development program which will have a positive impact on thousands of our nearest neighbours and should be embraced as a bi-partisan initiative.
 
By working in partnership Vision 2020 Australia’s members have shown they are very effective at delivering Australian aid. The Avoidable Blindness Initiative was funded by the last Labor Government and delivered significant improvements in eye-health across the Asia-Pacific region.
 

Quotes attributable to Vision 2020 Australia CEO Judith Abbott:

“There are currently around 40,000 people who are blind in the Pacific region, with almost 170,000 who have a vision impairment - if no action is taken, these numbers are forecast to significantly worsen.”
 
“Australia can, and should, do more to address this and we welcome the leadership demonstrated by the ALP in establishing the Pacific Blindness and Vision Loss Fund."
 
“No matter who wins the upcoming election, we are calling on the next Australian Government to commit to a new Pacific Blindness and Vision Loss Fund to address eye-health across the region.”
 
ENDS
 
Media contact: Ben Jessup 0410 632 123 or bjessup@vision2020australia.org.au
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