Regional Eye Health Coordinators (REHC) play a very important role in the holistic care of our communities by way of providing Eye clinics to Aboriginal people in Wellington and outreach centres.
The eye health program was developed in 1999 in conjunction with AH&MRC, RFDS , ICEE and VisionCare NSW who realised there was a vision problem in the Aboriginal Communities and thus the position of REHC was created.
There are 7 REHC positions in NSW and the catchment areas are very large which require the Eye Health Coordinators to undertake extensive travel to coordinate these outreach clinics to the communities.
The towns that the WACHS Eye Health Coordinator (Pauline Wicks) covers are Baradine, Bathurst, Condobolin, Coonabarabran, Cowra, Dubbo , Forbes, Gilgandra, Gulargambone , Kelso, Narromine, Nyngan, Orange, Parkes, Peak Hill, Warren as well as Wellington.
The Eye Health Coordinator works in with an Ophthalmologist who bulk bills clients who are referred from the clinics and this aspect is very important because it ensures our people can get the treatment for their eye diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, bleeds and any other trauma or injury to the eye that in the past would be let go because of financial difficulties. Due to the large number of Diabetics in the Aboriginal population it is important these people be checked annually for Diabetic retinopathy.
The Eye Health Coordinators aim is to provide/deliver culturally appropriate eye health clinics and school screenings to Aboriginal people in WACHS catchment area especially those people that have difficultly in accessing such services due to limited opportunities.
By coordinating school screenings a Childs vision problems can be detected at an early age which is important to avoid more serious eye problems occurring.
Some visually impaired people can be corrected with a pair of spectacles; this is part of the Eye Health Coordinators role as well, which is part of the holistic primary health care process which is working towards “Closing the Gap”.
Regional Eye Health Coordinator
Wellington Aboriginal Corporation Health Service
Ph. 02 6845 3545
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