Indigenous Eye Health Unit - Minum Barreng
Unlike many illnesses and disabilities, most poor eye health is preventable or treatable. Although Australian Aboriginal people are reported to have the world's best vision, as a group they have rates of blindness and vision loss at least 10 times higher than mainstream. The last comprehensive data on the state of Indigenous eye health were collected 30 years ago. Much of the poor eye health is due to inappropriate or inadequate health service delivery. In addition, Australia is the only developed country to still have trachoma and in many outback areas, Aboriginal communities have rates of trachoma as high as anywhere in the world. This blinding, infectious disease disappeared from mainstream Australia 100 years ago but a concerted program to address trachoma in Australia is still to be implemented.
With these considerations in mind, the Indigenous Eye Health Unit was established at the beginning of 2008. Under the leadership of Professor Hugh R. Taylor AC, it will undertake high quality research and policy development in Indigenous eye health. This will provide an evidence base to assess the needs in Indigenous eye health and prioritise specific intervention strategies.Current research activities within the Unit include:
- The National Indigenous Eye Health Survey
- Provision of Indigenous Eye Health Services Report
- Improving Indigenous Eye Health by Mapping the Research Evidence to the Needs of Indigenous People
- Critical History of Indigenous Eye Health Policy: Towards Effective System Reform
- National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit *
- Children's Eye Health Education Program in Outback Communities*
The Indigenous Eye Health Unit is in receipt of funding from The Harold Mitchell Foundation, The Ian Potter Foundation and other private donors. The IEHU and University of Melbourne also receive funding from the Australian Government.
*Collaborations exist with the Centre for Eye Research Australia and the Vision Co-operative Research Centre.
Professor Taylor has written a highly acclaimed book on trachoma entitled "Trachoma: A Blinding Scourge from the Bronze Age to the Twenty-first Century." A copy of this book, which was published in February 2008, can be obtained by contacting Judith Carrigan on email: firstname.lastname@example.org.