The Indigenous Diabetes Eyes and Screening (IDEAS) van is a mobile eye clinic to screen, treat and help prevent blindness due to diabetes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. And it’s coming to Victoria in May!
Dubbed the Look Out Project, this RWAV initiative aims to deliver ophthalmology outreach services at selected Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), specifically to facilitate greater access to Diabetic Retinopathy treatment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
This initiative was developed following consultations with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), ACCOs and referral pathway mapping. This work identified that many Aboriginal patients have to travel to Melbourne or other larger regional centres every four to six weeks for eye procedures associated with diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma. These eye conditions, if untreated, can lead to vision loss or blindness in patients.
RWAV’s Look Out Project does not aim to replace any existing services but instead will enhance current service delivery and access to bulk billing ophthalmology services. The RWAV Look Out Project will work with communities at a grass roots level to strengthen access at a local level whilst building sustainable pathways to ophthalmology services.
The IDEAS van will be hosted in:
Wyndham Vale – IPC Health
Wodonga – Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service
Orbost – Moogji Aboriginal Council
Heywood – Winda-Mara Aboriginal Co-operative
Robinvale – Murray Valley Aboriginal Co-operative
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people having significantly higher rates of diabetes-related eye disease, which can be caused by late diagnosis, poorly controlled and managed diabetes.
The IDEAS Van will travel from Queensland to different parts of Victoria to be delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities. The van comes fully stocked for use by the visiting ophthalmologist and includes all pharmaceutical resources.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from surrounding areas will also be able to access the IDEAS Van.