26 May, 2022
Over the past few months, we have been working hard to get our first Indigenous program off the ground. The first step of the project was to focus on enhancing the eye-care available to the people of the Griffith (NSW) district by providing a sustainable high quality, comprehensive eye-care service, at no cost to those in need, based at Griffith Base Hospital (GBH).
The great news is that we have already seen some good results thanks to the provision of high quality comprehensive ophthalmic care to the people of Griffith and the Western Murrumbidgee Local Health District led by Dr Geoffrey Painter AM, and his team.
However, we are planning to expand the project and give access to eye care services to more remote and underserved Aboriginal communities around the district. This will be achieved by including eye care in existing outreach services provided by local Aboriginal Medical services.
Unfortunately, 35 per cent of Indigenous adults have never had an eye exam so including vision screening in the current outreach programs will help lower this alarming statistic. Most importantly, this will include provision of up-skill training and support to Aboriginal health staff. In addition, there is still much needed assistance with waiting list reduction for cataract surgery. Unfortunately, this reflects the horrible statistics showing that 1 out of 3 indigenous people go blind.
Regular surgical and consulting visits by our volunteering doctors and nursing team, will be much needed to reduce the rate of blindness. Those visits will also provide training opportunities for other registrars, residents and GBH medical students, with a special priority in surgical skills and theatre efficiency.
That is why this year, we will be relying more on your support so that together we will be able to implement these activities as soon as possible.