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Australian Government and Vision 2020 Australia aim to eliminate blindness in region within 10 years PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 27 November 2009

The Fred Hollows Foundation has united with the Australian Government and other vision care organisations to eliminate avoidable blindness and reduce the impact of vision loss throughout South East Asia and the Pacific over the next 10 years.

The partnership is part of the Rudd Government's focus on improving living standards, health care and access to education in the Asia Pacific - and is a key element of AusAID's new Development for All disability strategy. The Hon Bob McMullan MP, Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, launched the partnership in Canberra today with a message that 80% of global blindness is avoidable, treatable or preventable.

As a result of this partnership, as many as 100 million people in South East Asia and the Pacific will have their vision restored or improved. The 2008 federal budget contained a $45 million commitment to improving eye health in the Asia Pacific. Since then, there has been much progress in establishing a Consortium partnership and developing an agreement to commence the first stages of this groundbreaking initiative.

New social media tools for people with disabilities PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 26 November 2009

Media Access Australia (MAA) has launched two new products as part of a review of accessibility features in popular social media websites to enable people with disabilities to take advantage of these sites. The first is the Social Media Guide to help people with disabilities find accessibility features in a number of popular social media tools, including Skype, Facebook, YouTube and many others.

MAA has also developed the Social Media Accessibility Review, reporting on the overall state of accessibility across social media. The products are available from You can access these products by navigating to the User Access Guide under New Media and goto Social Media.

ARC grants to help fight against bacterial infection PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Two Discovery Grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC) will help Sydney researchers develop novel new ways of protecting against dangerous bacterial infection. The ARC will provide funding of $300 000 to assist research at the University of New South Wales investigating the possibility of disrupting chemical communication in bacteria as a new way to fight infection. Research at Macquarie University seeking to develop new and natural methods to protect humans and animals against pathogens – before they invade the body – will receive $320 000.

According to the researchers, serious health problems caused by pathogenic microorganisms are in sharp increase due to an aging population, escalating numbers of immunocompromised people and the increased resistance of microorganisms to currently available antibiotics. Professor Mark Willcox, Chief Scientific Officer at the Institute for Eye Research, and a member of both project teams, says that due to the increased application of antibiotics for disease control, many pathogenic bacteria have developed resistance to existing treatments.

Vision Australia and Apple present info sesson about accessibility PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 19 November 2009

Apple's flagship Sydney store will host Vision Australia Senior Adaptive Technology Consultant David Woodbridge as he presents an hour-long accessibility information session on Thursday 19 November.

'Accessibility: Out Of The Box' will focus on the intelligent accessibility features that are built into Apple products. Apple has an ongoing commitment to ensuring wide access to technology. In recent years, it has released a number of accessible products that have been very well received by the local and international blindness and low vision community, namely the iPhone 3GS, the iPod Touch and the latest operating system, Snow Leopard.

Anyone with an interest in accessibility, technology or both is very welcome to attend this free presentation that proves everyone can enjoy technology. Accessibility: Out Of The Box runs from 5pm at the Apple Store, 367 George Street, Sydney.

Tragic state of health for Indigenous males in Australia PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The AMA has released its eighth Indigenous Health Report Card, this year putting the focus on the tragic state of health of Indigenous males - boys, adolescents and men. It was launched in Darwin by Indigenous Health Minister, Warren Snowdon, and AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce.

Indigenous males are much more likely to die earlier from preventable causes than non-Indigenous males and Indigenous females. At every age - from boyhood to manhood - Indigenous males experince higher rates of diseases and conditions that are totally preventable.

There is evidence that the loss of status, self-esteem and sense of purpose experienced by many Indigenous men is intimately bound up with their poor health as both a cause and an effect.

In this Report Card, the AMA sets out some solutions to help improve the health and quality of life of Indigenous males, and gives examples of Good News Stories where innovative programs are providing healthier lifestyles for men and boys alike.

Australian Government gives ground on cataract rebate PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 30 October 2009

The federal government's backed away from its plan to halve the Medicare rebate for cataract surgery but patients are getting only $28 extra for standard procedures.

The decision, announced by Health Minister Nicola Roxon on Thursday, was forced on the government after non-Labor senators disallowed a regulation halving the standard rebate to around $312 from Sunday. The government will make a new regulation providing a rebate of $340 for standard procedures. Patients will be refunded $675 for more complex procedures, up from around $638. The new rebates are safe until November 16, when the Senate next has the opportunity to disallow the latest regulation.

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