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The IDEAS Initiative is bringing world class facilities to rural and remote communities in an effort to substantially reduce blindness and visual impairment amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with diabetes.

Over the age of 40 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have 6-10 times the rate of blindness of other Australians. 94% of vision loss in Indigenous Australians is preventable or treatable.

Queensland Health provided $5 million to Diamond Jubilee Partnerships Ltd for an innovative close the gap project. The project was designated as Queenslands’ tribute to the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

The Minister for Health, the Honourable Lawrence Springborg launched the project on December 10th 2013. The IDEAS Van commenced operations in March 2014.

The initiative aims to reduce preventable blindness from diabetes by providing education, equipment and specialist clinical treatment and support to Aboriginal Medical Services in Queensland and their indigenous and non-indigenous patients. The focus of this program is the IDEAS Van, a mobile ophthalmic treatment centre.

A partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service expands the scope of this Initiative and helps tap into 14 rural and remote areas across the State of Queensland. 51 population centres and their surrounding communities benefit from this multifaceted initiative.

The IDEAS Initiative closes the health gap for Indigenous and remote communities by providing a visiting service that gives access to first class specialist services in the familiar cultural surrounds of a Community Controlled Health Service thus improving compliance and health outcomes. The Initiative builds a working partnership with all participants involved in the delivery of health services to Indigenous people in Queensland where good work is already being done to close the health gap.

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