Objective 1: Strengthen regional eye health services
The health system is not meeting the eye health and vision care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
To ensure sustained access to high quality, culturally-safe, patient-centred eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples there must be expanded services and pathways to treatment.
Working together, government and nongovernment eye health stakeholders can strengthen local service delivery and integration. Regional planning is key to ensure resources are allocated and there is continuous quality improvement in eye health.
The Foundation expects that by strengthening regional eye health service delivery models, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples will receive high-quality, culturally-safe eye care.
- Improve patient access to high quality, culturally safe, patient-centred eye care through collaboration and cooperation
- Support the development of Regional Hubs and eye health coalitions to enable the necessary scale up of eye care services to communities
Objective 2: Train and strengthen the eye health workforce
There is a shortage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples employed in eye health roles.
Greater investment is needed to ensure more trained and culturally-competent eye health professionals are available to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples receive high-quality, culturally-safe eye care, as close to home as possible.
By 2024 we aim to see:
- 50 additional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander health professionals trained in eye health
- 30 additional service delivery coordinators employed to increase uptake of eye health services
- Two additional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander doctors enrolled in ophthalmology
- Five additional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people training to be optometrists
- 50 ophthalmologists and optometrists with enhanced skills in the provision of culturally responsive services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
- 100 percent of target regions are resourced with the staff required to deliver effective eye health care
- Annual dissemination of at least two new insights.
Objective 3: Strengthen eye care in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) are best-placed to provide localised, culturally-responsive primary eye care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
ACCHSs need greater support to embed eye care within primary health care and to address widespread equipment shortages.
The Foundation expects that by strengthening the provision of eye health care within ACCHSs, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples will receive eye examinations, gain access to glasses when they need them and be actively supported to access cataract surgery and treatment for diabetic retinopathy.
We aim to:
- understand and address the challenges faced by ACCHSs to meet the needs of their communities;
- and pilot innovative projects to ensure ACCHSs have the equipment, systems and staff they need to deliver eye care
Objective 4: Finally eliminate trachoma
Australia has almost eliminated trachoma.
Effective post-elimination trachoma surveillance and response systems and strong environmental health and hygiene promotion programs within remote and very remote communities are needed to achieve and sustain elimination efforts.
The Foundation expects that investments in these strategies will ensure trachoma is finally eliminated from Australia.
By 2024 we aim to see:
- work with health and housing departments, non-government organisations and the Aboriginal community-controlled sector to identify and test local solutions to address the determinants of trachoma transmission;
- work nationally to strengthen knowledge exchange, workforce capacity and the monitoring and evaluation of environmental health and hygiene promotion programs
- contribute to the development of post-elimination trachoma surveillance and control strategies, and advocate for government investment in evidence-based environmental health and hygiene promotion programs.
- Trachoma eliminated from all at-risk communities
- Effective post-elimination trachoma surveillance and response systems operating across all at-risk regions
- Annual dissemination of at least two new insights relating to the impacts, costs, or effectiveness of new tools or models for delivery of environmental health and healthy living practices promotion programs.
Objective 5: Ensure governments adopt The Strong Eyes, Strong Communities national plan
The gap in eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has been halved over the past decade as a result of the collective efforts of many individuals, organisations and governments.
Despite these investments, only 60 percent of the need is being met and access to culturally-safe treatment is still lacking.
If funded by governments, the Strong Eyes, Strong Communities
plan will enable the necessary scale-up of the clinical and non-clinical services required to meet population need and support Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services to play a greater role in designing and delivering culturally-responsive models of eye health care.
- work in collaboration with Vision 2020 Australia and members of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee to push for governments to adopt the recommendations set out in the Strong Eyes, Strong Communities plan;
- champion greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and control in the eye health sector;
- and ensure that there is meaningful and substantive engagement with and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, organisations and community members in implementing the plan.