Vi­sion van a life-changer

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

A pi­lot project to test mo­bile health ser­vices across re­gional WA has been hailed a game-changer by Abo­rig­i­nal Health Coun­cil of WA chair­woman Michelle Nel­son-Cox.

The mo­bile eye health van, run through an AHCWA part­ner­ship with the Lions Eye In­sti­tute, has vis­ited more than 1200 pa­tients in its first six months on the road, al­most half of whom have been in­dige­nous.

Since March it has vis­ited 15 re­gional com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Kar­ratha, Roe­bourne, Onslow, Port Hed­land and New­man.

The Com­mu­nity Com­pact project seeks to de­tail how ser­vices are cur­rently be­ing de­liv­ered, the ex­tent to which mo­bile ser­vices are meet­ing needs and iden­ti­fy­ing bar­ri­ers to ef­fi­cient ser­vice de­liv­ery.

Ms Nel­son Cox said the van meant iso­lated pa­tients no longer needed to travel for an ap­point­ment with an oph­thal­mol­o­gist.

“There are hun­dreds of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple in re­gional and re­mote WA who are suf­fer­ing from pre­ventable eye con­di­tions ev­ery day be­cause they don’t have ac­cess to ap­pro­pri­ate ser­vices,” she said.

“Treat­ing these pa­tients on their own coun­try, in a cul­tur­ally ap­pro­pri­ate way, is life chang­ing.”

The van has the ca­pac­ity to treat 200 pa­tients a week for eye con­di­tions in­clud­ing cataracts, re­frac­tive er­ror, tra­choma, glau­coma and di­a­betic retinopa­thy. It has trav­elled 13,650km since March.

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