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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health

RANZCO is committed to the reconciliation process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) framework commits RANZCO to activities that seek to achieve equity in access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; continue to build collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the health sector; build on our existing commitment to increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ophthalmologists in Australia; and will improve and enhance our organisation’s indigenous cultural awareness and cultural safety practices.

RANZCO has affirmed our commitment to strive for health equity and equality for all Australians, including Australia’s First Nations Peoples by endorsing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution and seeks a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about Australia’s history. View the RANZCO position statement here.

RANZCO maintains a dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Eye Health Committee, which brings together ophthalmologists from across Australia who have particular experience in service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including via innovative service delivery models. The Committee informs RANZCO’s projects, policies, and advocacy work in this area.

RANZCO works in close collaboration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, including via Vision 2020 Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee. Recently, Vision 2020 Australia has released its Strong Eyes, Strong Communities plan. RANZCO is also one of the original endorsers of the Roadmap for Closing the Gap for Vision, and its annual update is launched at RANZCO Congress each year. RANZCO also works in close collaboration with Indigenous medical education organisations (such as the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association – AIDA, and the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education – LIME) to ensure cultural competency is best embedded into the RANZCO Vocational Training Program.

RANZCO, in partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation, recognises that we need practical steps towards reconciliation and closing the gap in eye health. This joint statement calls on the eye health sector to prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health in practical ways such as bulk-billing, patient-centred approaches to care and equity of access to essential eye surgery.

 

Acknowledging our ongoing commitment to reconciliation, RANZCO has invited our first Aboriginal Fellow, Dr Kris Rallah-Baker to talk about closing the gap in eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Dr Rallah-Baker speaks about the successful response in Australia to protect Indigenous communities from COVID-19, the impacts of racism and the positive steps the College is taking to embed cultural safety across our work. RANZCO continues to advocate for an Australian health system free of racism where all people receive equitable access to eye health care.

RANZCO’s Past Vice President Prof Nitin Verma talks about the importance of National Reconciliation Week in Australia:

Video transcript here.

Last updated: November 23, 2020

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RANZCO acknowledges our First Australians, the Traditional
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respect to Elders past, present and emerging. Gadigal people
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