2019 National Conference


Close the gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 - Report

Indigenous Eye health (IEH), the University of Melbourne and Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) co-hosted the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019 at the Alice Springs Convention Centre on March 14 and 15 2019.

Over two days of the Conference, more than 220 delegates and over 60 speakers from all state and territories and including representation from community, local and regional services, state organisations, national peak and non-government agencies, and government came together to share, learn, and be inspired. Conference attendance has grown significantly year to year since the first conference (+83%) held in Melbourne in 2017. This increase also reflects over 50 regions, covering more than 80% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, that are now engaged in activities to close the gap for vision.

The conference provided delegates with the opportunity to highlight the very real advances being made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait eye health. It explored successes and opportunities to strengthen eye care and initiatives and challenges to sustain progress towards the goal of equitable eye care by 2020.

IEH would like to thank everyone that attended and contributed to the conference and especially the speakers for sharing their stories, thoughts and learnings.

Congratulations again to our deserved 2019 Leaky Pipe Awards winners.

The feedback IEH has received from delegates and speakers has been very positive and supports the joint commitment to close the gap for vision by 2020.

We will look forward to welcoming you to the next national conference planned in March 2020 and in the year ahead let’s keeping working together to close the gap for vision.

The conference reports, A3 poster, presentations, photo gallery, and other supplementary materials can be found below:

A3 PosterSummary ReportFull Report

ProgramPresentations & Posters


The Alice Springs Declaration 2019 was unanimously endorsed at the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019.

Delegates heard that improvements in environmental health and housing are essential to eliminate trachoma and to reduce rates of other childhood infections that can lead to serious conditions such as rheumatic heart disease, blindness and deafness.

Good progress is being made in reducing trachoma rates but there has been some stalling in remote Central Australian communities where trachoma remains endemic and will not be eliminated unless housing is addressed.


Alice springs declaration image
image gallery

Photo Gallery

Click below to scroll through the photo gallery from day 1 and day 2 of the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference 2019

Photo Gallery

2019 Leaky Pipe Award Winners

Indigenous Eye Health at the University of Melbourne presented the 2nd annual Leaky Pipe Awards during the dinner at the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain – National Conference 2019 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals and groups in progressing activities to Close the Gap for Vision.

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leaky pipe winners
social media thumbnail

Media Coverage and Communications

CAAMA Media Coverage

IEH were proud to partner with CAAMA radio for the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020: Strengthen & Sustain National Conference. (view coverage below)

Media Articles/Interviews

A number of articles have been prepared by partner and other organisations to reflect some of the conference themes, key messages and learnings.

Social Media

Delegates were encouraged to use the hashtag #ctgv19 for social media posting which generated pointed discussion for those at the conference and those following from elsewhere.
In addition to our own twitter account @IEHU_UniMelb, IEH partnered with Croakey to ‘take-over’ the @WePublicHealth handle for the week of the conference. Being able to share key themes and messages from the conference to over 12,800 people who follow the @WePublicHealth was a great opportunity to share the amazing work coming out of the Indigenous eye health sector.

Click hashtag #CTGV19 to see conference Twitter posts.

View CAAMA Coverage

Eyes In Action

A photo competition ‘Eyes in Action’ was held throughout the Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 National Conference. Aiming to highlight the diversity, beauty and fascination of not only the work we do in eye health, but also what we see while we do this work. Entries were open to amateur photographers and all entries were displayed at the conference for delegates to view and nominate a winner.

We are glad to announce, the entry from Kristina Hatfield who entered the image, taken by her daughter Lelarnie Hatfield, titled: 'Through her Eyes' as the winner of the 'Eyes in Action' photography competition! Congratulations!

through her eyes
'Through her Eyes': Darumbal Gadyu (girl) connecting back to Nunthi (Country) learning about Identity and the Yadaba (respect) of Nunthi