Lessons learned from a subsidised spectacles scheme aiming to improve eye health in Aboriginal people in Victoria, Australia
AuthorFricke, TR; Brand, C; Lovett, L; Turner, NW; Anjou, MD; Bentley, SA
Source TitleAustralian Health Review
AffiliationMelbourne School of Population and Global Health
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsFricke, T. R., Brand, C., Lovett, L., Turner, N. W., Anjou, M. D. & Bentley, S. A. (2020). Lessons learned from a subsidised spectacles scheme aiming to improve eye health in Aboriginal people in Victoria, Australia. AUSTRALIAN HEALTH REVIEW, 45 (2), pp.194-198. https://doi.org/10.1071/AH20023.
Access StatusOpen Access
The Victorian Aboriginal Spectacles Subsidy Scheme (VASSS) aimed to improve access to visual aids and eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians. The VASSS started in July 2010 and has operated continually since. In 2016, we explored the collaborations, planning, adaptations and performance of the VASSS over the first 6 years by reviewing and analysing service data, as well as data from semistructured interviews, focus groups and surveys. An estimated 10853 VASSS cofunded visual aids were delivered over 6 years, and the mean annual number of comprehensive eye examinations provided within services using VASSS grew 4.6-fold faster compared with the 4 years preceding the VASSS. We estimate that 16% and 19% of recipients presented with distance and near vision impairments respectively, all of which were corrected with visual aids. VASSS achievements were attained through collaborations, flexibility, trust and communication between organisations, all facilitated by funding resulting from evidence-based advocacy. Access to visual aids and eye examinations by Aboriginal Victorians has improved during the operation of the VASSS, with associated direct and indirect benefits to Aboriginal health, productivity and quality of life. The success of the VASSS may be replicable in other jurisdictions and provides lessons that may be applicable in other fields.
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