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Project Background

Fred was a fierce defender of human rights. He fought for what he believed in, especially when it came to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Currently Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are 6 times more likely than other Australians to go blind. But 94% of their vision loss is preventable of treatable and 35% of adults have never had an eye exam.

Since 2012, The Foundation’s Indigenous Australia Program has been implementing integrated eye health programs in two regions of the Top End of the Northern Territory. These programming efforts, along with feedback received from regional stakeholders, have identified a number of gaps and issues which continue to affect rural and remote living Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ access to eye care services across the Top End. 

This project seeks to address these issues through increasing capacity to deliver expanded outreach ophthalmology services throughout the Top End.

Project Aim

In a vast country with many rural and remote communities, accessibility to services is a geographic and economic barrier for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is particularly true in the terms of receiving health care.

The Top End Ophthalmology Resources Project aims to increase access to, and improve delivery of, outreach specialist eye care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote communities in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

Key Project Objectives

  • Increase the quantity of eye services and improve the quality and delivery of eye care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in the Top End through improved coordination, integration and efficiency of outreach services; increased access to assessment and surgical referral services; and improved understanding of community need and demand for eye services.
  • Increase access to and uptake of comprehensive culturally appropriate eye care services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in the Top End by increasing support for eye care patients and their families throughout the patient journey; and improving awareness and education of eye conditions
  • Raise the profile of avoidable blindness as a public health issue and build evidence and support for a sustainable outreach ophthalmology service model that can be applied to the Top End and other regions of the Northern Territory.

Project Partners

In partnership with the Northern Territory Government and Top End health services, The Foundation has seen a dramatic increase in outreach ophthalmology activity thanks to increased coordination and liaison. For the first time in the Top End, outreach ophthalmology services have been scheduled according to population-based needs and coordinated with outreach optometry visits.

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