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National Close The Gap Day 2015.

RANZCO staff supported yet another important, ‘National Close the Gap’ Day, on Thursday 19 March.

There were several events planned and in the lead up to the day Adam Kiernan, Manager, E-Learning and Indigenous Health, gave a short presentation on some of the statistics relating to Indigenous eye health. Adam shared in his presentation that Indigenous Australians can expect to live 10-17 years less than non-Indigenous Australians and it was emphasised that vision loss accounts for 11% of the health gap. Currently blindness rates in Indigenous adults are 6 times the rate in mainstream with low vision rates at 2.8 times the rate in mainstream. 94% of vision loss is caused by preventable or treatable conditions (refractive error, cataract, diabetes and trachoma) and about a third of Indigenous adults have never had an eye examination. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being six times those of non-Indigenous Australians and vision loss being the equal third leading cause of ‘the gap’ after heart disease, diabetes and trauma, with stroke and alcoholism. Blindness rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are six times those of non-Indigenous Australians and vision loss is the equal third leading cause of ‘the gap’ after heart disease, diabetes and trauma, with stroke and alcoholism.

Staff members participated in a picnic in the park to show local support for this national event and there were photo opportunities and other activities including a signing of the ‘Close the Gap’ pledge, organisational pledge and writing a letter to the Prime Minister on Oxfam’s website. Later on in the day there was an opportunity to plant a hand in the ANTaR organised ‘sea of hands.’

The aim of the campaign is to work towards closing the overall health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in one generation (over a 25 year period). The campaign was started in 2005 so that leaves 15 years to achieve this goal. The Prime Minister’s 2015 Report on Closing the Gap indicated that there are areas where there has been substantial improvement but in contrast some areas are falling behind their projected targets.

The eye health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a priority for both the Government and the eye health and vision care sector.

The sector has endorsed the Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision as a focus for improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health.

group photos

Last updated: November 29, 2018

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RANZCO acknowledges our First Australians, the Traditional Custodians of the land
on which we live and work, and pays respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
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