Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Indigenous community riddled with eye disease: study

The Fred Hollows Foundation says it is not suprised by a study that has found 40 per cent of children at one central Australian Aboriginal community have the eye disease trachoma.

The foundation treats eye and other health problems in Australia and overseas.

The foundation's Chip Morgan says the problem is rife among Aboriginal communities despite it being considered almost exclusively a third world disease."Indigenous communities have conditions which, and certainly living conditions, which are comparable to third world countries so we have this third world disease within a first world country," he said."We're one of the few first world countries where trachoma still exists as a disease."It's mainly a disease which impacts as a result of poverty."

The Fred Hollows Foundation says attempts to eradicate trachoma are being held back by other life threatening health issues. Mr Morgan says trachoma is often seen as a lower priority.

"There's so many compelling health issues that trachoma actually falls down the list a bit," he said."It's not life threatening and indeed there's many people in the Northern Territory who are not even achieving sort of an age whereby that the scarring can can cause blindeness because life expectancy among Indigenous people is so low."

By Eye Sore 22 January 03

SKIPPY: Australia the third world country?


Chip off the old Block
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