Budja Budja Aboriginal Cooperative is located in Halls Gap, a rural Victorian town, where community members have limited access to medical and health services. Outreach services like the Visiting Optometrist Scheme (VOS) are essential to support the local community access high-quality healthcare close to home.
Through the VOS program, Budja Budja provides regular eye checks in a culturally competent manner by a trusted provider, supplies spectacles under the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacle Subsidy Scheme, 89 Indigenous children in local schools have their eyes checked regularly and patients with diabetes get annual eye checks.
Other activities undertaken include referrals for ophthalmology services, promotion of eye care health and education to raise awareness of eye health issues and training of clinical staff to use eye equipment and interpretation of results.
The VOS program was linked to the Grampians Region Indigenous Eye Health Project from July 2014 to March 2016, in which Budja Budja was a participant member, along with the two other Grampian’s region ACCHOs.
The expansion of VOS funded visits across the region and its linkages with RWAV’s Ear and Eye Surgical Program and the Victorian Aboriginal Spectacle Subsidy Scheme has resulted in a significant improvement in eye health in the region. The project was recognised as setting a national standard for Indigenous eye health and was reported in the Medical Journal of Australia.