Vision 2020 Australia CEO, Carly Iles, has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of the Partnerships for a Healthy Region program.
The Australian Government will allocate $620 million funding for health system improvement in the Pacific and Southeast Asia across five years.
Ms Iles said the announcement was excellent news and one that acknowledges the sustained advocacy efforts of Vision 2020 Australia and its members.
“Vision 2020 Australia, through the effort of our Global Committee, has continued to campaign for the Australian Government to assist in the strengthening of health systems in the Indo Pacific, particularly Papua New Guinea (PNG), which has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world, with over 860,000 people experiencing vision loss.
“Our 2023-24 Budget submission called for greater investment for the Indo Pacific and we’re pleased it is being realised,” Ms Iles said.
Carly Iles said that today’s funding announcement and investment of $50 million to address non-communicable disease will improve health outcomes in places like PNG, which has rapidly rising rates of diabetes, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy and irreversible vision loss.
The Partnerships for a Healthy Region program includes:
- $350m to communicable disease prevention/control
- $50m to non-communicable diseases
- $157m to sexual and reproductive health and rights
- $53m to health system strengthening
- $10m to cross cutting principles.
Ms Iles said the initiative will assist in ensuring our neighbouring countries are better equipped to deal with future health challenges.
“Post pandemic, we’ve seen a catastrophic impact on people with disabilities, including those living with vision impairment and blindness.
“This is welcome news to not only address the current burden of vision loss and prevent escalating rates of avoidable blindness, but promote future regional prosperity and health security.”