Parliamentary Friends for Eye Health and Vision Care breakfast

On 19 March, Vision 2020 Australia hosted a Parliamentary Friends Group for Eye Health and Vision Care breakfast at Parliament House, in Canberra. The event was a great success attracting over 95 guests–including 18 members of parliament from both sides of the house. Special guests i ncluded former Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery AC AO(Mil) CVO MC (Retd) and Professor Emeritus Ron McCallum, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Micheal Jeffery, Ron McCallum and David Lewis

Image: Micheal Jeffery, Ron McCallum and David Lewis
Photographer Irene Dowdy

Brian Doolan, CEO of The Fred Hollows Foundation, spoke about recent developments internationally in eye health and vision care, including the Queens Diamond Jubilee Trust, the focus on trachoma and the links between eye health and vision care and the Millennium Development Goals.

The Hon Richard Marles MP spoke , emphasising the difference Australia’s investment in prevention and treatment of avoidable blindnessis making in reducing poverty in the region,and the Hon Teresa Gambaro MP, speaker for the coalition, talked about the bipartisan support for eye health and vision care and the importance of the Global Action Plan in setting the direction to 2019.

Professor Ron McCallum introduced and stressed the importance of the Disability Inclusion in Eye Health Programs guide–a user-friendly guide for all eye health practitioners that outlines the key principles of disability-inclusion, practical tips and case studies promotion inclusion of people with a disability in all eye health activities. He spoke about his personal experiences as a blind man and stressed how important it is that people with a disability are included in development programs globally.

The event was sponsored by CBM Australia, The Fred Hollows Foundation, The Royal Australian and New Zealand Collage of Ophthalmologists, Vision Australia, Optometrists Association of Australia and Vision CRC.