The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, today announced funding for Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA) to develop a Strategic National Action Plan for Macular Disease.
The National Action Plan will seek to develop a strategic direction around the management, prevention and treatment of macular disease that in the future may be incorporated into government policies and budgets. The development of the action plan will be led by MDFA as the national peak body, and will provide a blue print for key priorities and actions to reduce the incidence and impact of macular disease.
Dee Hopkins, CEO of Macular Disease Foundation Australia sees this as a great step forward in addressing this chronic disease, “Minister Hunt has shown great foresight in acknowledging the growing incidence of macular disease and the impact it is having as a chronic disease in Australia”.
“As our population ages and becomes more at risk of aged-related macular degeneration, and with a rising prevalence of diabetic eye disease in working aged Australians, the incidence and impact of macular disease will only increase and put additional strain on our healthcare system. The National Strategic Action Plan will help us prepare, prioritise and invest wisely to support the macular disease community,” says Hopkins.
The funding announcement was made in Parliament House at the launch of MDFA’s most recent report, “The Journey to See: A Model for Success”. Minister Hunt was joined by MDFA’s Patron, Ita Buttrose AO OBE and Professor Paul Mitchell AO, Australia’s leading Ophthalmologist and sight saving researcher.
The Journey to See: A Model for Success is a timely report examining anti-VEGF treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration and the impact over the past ten years. It outlines how collaboration between government, healthcare professionals, research agencies, the pharmaceutical industry and the Macular Disease Foundation Australia has delivered a continuum of care for Australians – from awareness and prevention to management and support of those living with AMD.
As stated by Hopkins “For macular disease to be elevated in importance in this way is certainly affirming that the voice of the macular disease community has been heard by the government. With an estimated 1.7 million Australians showing some evidence of macular disease, the timing is right for the development of a National Strategic Action Plan”.
Key achievements highlighted in The Journey to See: A Model for Success report
1. The creation of a national voice and dedicated patient advocate to speak on behalf of those at risk or diagnosed with macular disease and provide ongoing support throughout their journey.
2. An increase in national awareness and education across all age groups of the need for regular eye tests, and recognising the symptoms of wet AMD. This includes a 40 per cent increase in those over 50 years of age understanding the importance of completing regular eye tests
3. The development of anti-VEGF treatments for the treatment of wet AMD.
4. The registration and swift reimbursement of anti-VEGF treatments to enable access for thousands of Australians at risk of blindness.
5. Fostering of a highly skilled and adaptable health professional community enabling world-leading care for those living with disease.
Read a summary of the report here. A copy of the full report is available upon request by contacting [email protected]
Read The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health’s media release.
22 May 2018