Did you know that Australia’s nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea (PNG), has some of the highest rates of blindness in the world?
Vision 2020 Australia members working in global health have continued to advocate for the Australian government to invest in targeted initiatives to enhance eye health in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission has reinforced the importance of increasing investment in healthcare in the Indo-Pacific region to strengthen health security and protect Australia’s strategic and commercial interests.
Noting the significant reduction in official development assistance in health ($800m in 2014-15 to $562.5m in 2018-19 – a reduction of around $250 million per annum), ACFID is calling on the Australian Government to invest an additional $1 billion over the next four years to strengthen health systems and increase access to basic healthcare services in the region.
The initial focus for our sector is on building more accessible, sustainable and local eye care in PNG to tackle the high rates of cataract blindness and low levels of eye health workforce.
Vision 2020 Australia is seeking a meeting with the recently appointed Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator The Hon Zed Seselja to advocate for this proposal, which has been developed in consultation with Global Committee members from the Brien Holden Foundation, the Fred Hollows Foundation, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and other Vision 2020 Australia members.