The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision (the ‘Roadmap’), launched in 2012, provides a sector endorsed plan with 42 interlocking recommendations that collectively seek to address systemic barriers to accessing and utilising eye care services. Significant progress is being made to close the gap for vision that forms 11% of the Indigenous health gap.
Importantly, one component of the ‘Roadmap’ identifies the need for health promotion and awareness to ensure community and health staff recognise the need for eye care and know about local eye services.
Despite national guidelines recommending that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes undergo annual eye examinations, only 20% have done so. Of those requiring treatment for diabetic retinopathy only 37% have received it. Many best practice approaches for Indigenous health promotion are described, yet a dearth of literature describing the application of such frameworks to national health promotion strategies that maintain a local and community driven process.
An iterative, engaging and community led process has been undertaken by Indigenous Eye Health, University of Melbourne, to develop eye health promotion messages and resources focusing on eye care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes. This work supports the ‘Roadmap’s’ regional health system’s reform; and community consultations were undertaken in selected regions where eye care service improvements are being implemented. This has led to the development and launch of national Indigenous health promotion resources for diabetes-related eye health, which are relevant to the local context.
The aim of this symposium is to demonstrate the feasibility of combining the use of traditional approaches to community engagement with persuasive communication mediums such as multimedia and digital technology to understand the motivations, ability and triggers of community members to support health seeking behaviour change.
The symposium will present a four-tiered program focusing on bridging the gap between clinical intervention and improvements in eye health resulting from community driven strategies: