Restoring sight to the blind could be a 'flagship' of aid program

The Fred Hollows Foundation has welcomed the Federal Government’s response to the Foreign Aid Effectiveness Review, with CEO Brian Doolan suggesting that blindness prevention will aim to be a ‘flagship’ within the Government’s regional focus on disability. 

Recommendation 13 of the aid review, which was adopted today by Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, proposes that a small number of ‘flagships' for Australia's aid program be identified ‘where Australia would aim to be a significant and high-quality contributor and receive recognition for its efforts'.

Mr Doolan believes the elimination of avoidable blindness in our region by 2020 is a cause which fits the proposed criteria.

"The five criteria used to select these ‘flagships' include Australia's comparative advantage; neglected needs; the presence of a ‘tipping point'; high prospects for success; and related Australian interests," said Doolan.

"Australia is a leader in blindness prevention. Since the time of Fred Hollows, and in more recent times through the Australian Government's Avoidable Blindness Initiative, Australia has shown it can play a significant role in restoring sight to thousands in our region.

"We know, however, that there are still many millions of people in our region living with disabilities through blindness and we also know that we are approaching a great tipping point in our very winnable battle against avoidable blindness.

"We have a plan and with the right level of support, we will achieve our goals.

"I believe that the Government has a real opportunity to make the fight against avoidable blindness a flagship objective for our aid program over the coming years.

"Australia could lead the way in literally changing the lives of millions."

The Australian Government supports the objective to end avoidable blindness in our region by the year 2020, through its Avoidable Blindness Initiative. Phase one of this initiative has been implemented across the Asia Pacific region and has already helped restore sight to thousands of people.

> Learn more about The Foundation's work to end avoidable blindness.
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