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Now to the story...

Indigenous community riddled with eye disease: study

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 22 Jan 2003

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

The foundation's Chip Morgan says the problem is rife among Aboriginal
communities despite it being considered almost exclusively a third world

"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."




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