Indigenous Australians are three times more likely to be blind or have vision loss than the broader population despite the eye health and vision care gap closing in recent years.
To address this disparity Vision 2020 Australia will join members and organisations working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health at the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Striving Together – National Conference 2018, which will be held at the Arts Centre in Melbourne on March 15-16.
In line with this year’s conference theme, ‘Striving Together’, more than 150 delegates will attend to workshop solutions to Indigenous eye health challenges with the ultimate goal of eliminating the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous eye health by the year 2020.
Vision 2020 Australia CEO Carla Northam said Vision 2020 Australia is proud to be a conference partner.
“The Indigenous health sector, including eye health and vision care, has a long history of collaboration and using its collective expertise to strengthen health care systems.
We need to continue to focus on Indigenous eye health and vision care to close the gap for vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 2020.”
The federal Health Minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, will open the conference on National Close the Gap Day, Thursday, 15 March.
“It is inspiring to see a wide range of organisations working toward this important common goal guided by the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision,” Mr Hunt said. “This conference shows the progress that can be achieved when you work together.”
The conference is being hosted by the University of Melbourne’s Indigenous Eye Health, which was established in 2008 by Professor Hugh R Taylor, a former Vision 2020 Australia board member.
Professor Taylor said that while the disparity in Indigenous eye health has been significantly reduced, there is still a long way to go.
“This is a very encouraging improvement, but more needs to be done. With ongoing work from all stakeholders, we are determined to close the gap for Indigenous vision by 2020.”
The continuing effort to reduce the eye health and vision care gap will be highlighted at the conference, including the progress of Indigenous Eye Health’s Close the Gap for Vision activities and the completion of 16 of the 42 recommendations set out in the organisation’s Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision.
For more information: Amy Johnston at Vision 2020 Australia