Equal Health's beginnings lie in one man's plea for spectacle relief to bring sight to the underprivileged people in Tamil Nadu, India where he worked as Director of a Western Australian sponsored orphanage.
In response, Paul Clarke, a Perth based optical dispenser conducted a fact-finding spectacle aid initiative - 'Spectacle Aid to India Program' - in conjunction with the Australasian Dispensing Opticians Association (ADOA) in the village areas of Tamil Nadu in January 1997. Consequently, the ADOA officially adopted the program under its banner.
The 'Spectacle Aid to India Program' rapidly gained momentum, and opportunities to broaden its reach to other health disciplines arose.
In response, Paul Clarke and dentist Simon Shanahan proposed the formation of a new organisation that would encompass a multi-disciplinary approach to health aid. Consequently Equal Health was founded on 17 April 1999.
Since the first camp in January 1997, annual camps have been conducted in India and others in Indonesia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Thailand. Equal Health has also provided free spectacles for displaced Kosovars and East Timorese in camps around Australia and financially supported the repatriation of Balinese bomb victims.
Equal Health's work is made possible by strong working relationships and collaboration with its partner agencies to deliver health care programs. Equal Health also serves to train and equip the agencies' health care workers with skills and resources to improve the health of their communities on an ongoing basis.
Equal Health's partner agencies are located in India's states of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and include:
Anandaniketan - Society for Mental Health Care, West Bengal.
The RNH Eye Hospital, Trichy.
Rajan Eye Care Hospital, Chennai.
Jubilee Memorial Bible College, Urapakkam.
SEVAI (Society for Education Village Action and Improvement), Trichy.