The provision of eye health equipment and training (PEHET) program

Diabetes related vision impairment is almost four times higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people compared to non-Indigenous Australians and 98% of vision loss in Aboriginal communities is preventable or treatable. The PEHET program is increasing the rate of diabetic retinopathy screening by Aboriginal primary health care services. If caught early, diabetic retinopathy can be treated with good results. If not diagnosed early, it can be exceedingly difficult or impossible to treat and can cause permanent vision loss.

The Australian Government funds the national PEHET program providing eye health testing equipment, training, and support for the health service practitioners at 162 sites across Australia. We train Aboriginal health workers, nurses, general practitioners, and all other relevant personnel. 

We co-ordinate the program supported by the Federal Department of Health and co-lead the program with The Australian College of Optometry through a consortium approach. The consortium also includes the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, the Centre for Eye Health and Optometry Australia.

The consortium works collaboratively to implement the integrated program with guidance from an advisory group of representatives from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service sector. Our goal is to increase access to detection and care of eye disease within the communities we serve.

Training provided at each site as part of the PEHET program

Course 1

Retinal Camera Training for Primary Health Care Workers
  • 2 hours online training by Brien Holden Foundation 
  • 1-day face-to-face training with consortium members and local co-trainers
  • 1-day mentoring and upskilling with consortium member or visiting optometrist

Course 2

Diabetic Retinopathy Assessment: A Training Course
  • 2 hours online – Centre for Eye Health Learning for Vision course
  • Reading Service – Centre for Eye Health

Stage 3

Slit Lamp

Slit Lamps are being distributed to site from June 2020 (COVID-19 Safe dependent)

Stage 4

Embedding Retinal Cameras into Practice

Tools kits are being distributed to all health services that participated in retinal camera training. Pull-up banners and other materials to help promote diabetic retinopathy screening in health services are also being distributed.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Brien Holden Foundation acknowledges the traditional Aboriginal custodians of the many lands that we live and work on, and their continuing connection to Country and culture.

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