Eye health and vision care peak body Vision 2020 Australia said the Coalition had delivered a blow to the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people including those who are blind or vision impaired, by reducing the foreign aid budget.
The Coalition’s decision to reduce the foreign aid budget by $4.5 billion over the forward estimates will impact on the lives of the poor and is a setback for eye health.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO, Jennifer Gersbeck, called on the Coalition to reconsider the cuts.
“This is the worst kind of news for those who are living in poverty and to whom Australia has been a friend,” Ms Gersbeck said.
Around 223.4 million people globally are blind or vision impaired. Some 90 per cent of these people live in developing countries and around half of blindness occurs in the Asia Pacific region.
“With 80 per cent of blindness and vision impairment preventable or treatable globally, these planned cuts on foreign aid could mean less people will have access to sight-restoring surgeries, eye screenings and the provision of spectacles,” Ms Gersbeck said.
“As a prosperous nation, we have an obligation to help those living in our region who are less fortunate” Ms Gersbeck said.