The provision of eye health equipment and training (PEHET) program

Institution: Brian Holden Foundation

Diabetes related vision impairment is almost four times higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People compared to non-Indigenous Australians and 98% of vision loss in Aboriginal communities is preventable or treatable. The PEHET program is increasing the rate of diabetic retinopathy screening by Aboriginal primary health care services. If caught early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with good results. If not diagnosed early, it can be exceedingly difficult or impossible to treat and can cause permanent vision loss.

The Australian Government funds the national PEHET program providing eye health testing equipment, training, and support for the health service practitioners at 166 sites across Australia. We train Aboriginal health workers, nurses, general practitioners, and all other relevant personnel.

We co-ordinate the program supported by the Federal Department of Health and co-lead the program with The Australian College of Optometry through a consortium approach. The consortium also includes the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Centre for Eye Health and Optometry Australia.

The consortium works collaboratively to implement the integrated program with guidance from an advisory group of representatives from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service sector. Our goal is to increase access to detection and care of eye disease within the communities we serve.

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