International Eye Foundation (IEF) President and IAPB Vice President, Victoria Sheffield shares IAPB’s new Eye Health Resolution endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board. In the article posted on iapb.org, the resolution that aims to tackle the rising rates of vision impairment and blindness is discussed. Ms. Sheffield notes that “the global eye health community is excited about WHO’s emphasis on eye health and looks forward to endorsement by the entire WHO World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland in May.”
“The World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board approved a resolution on ‘integrated
people centred eye care’ in an effort to tackle the rising numbers of people living with vision impairment and blindness.
- The WHO Executive Board resolution notes that 2.2 billion people are living with blindness or vision impairment, of which at least 1 billion cannot access the treatment they need.
- By 2050, three times as many people will be blind as now, and half of the world will be living with short sightedness
- The resolution calls for countries to implement ‘integrated people centred eye care’ to reduce the numbers of people living with vision impairment and blindness.
Peter Holland, Chief Executive of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the peak body for eye health organisations worldwide, said “these predictions are not inevitable. Simple and cost-effective interventions are available to reverse the rapid growth of the problem. As the WHO recommends, it is therefore essential that governments include eye care in their national health plans and essential packages of care”.
The resolution gives effect to the World Health Organization’s first ‘World report on vision’ which was launched by the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in October last year. The report found that more than 1 billion people worldwide are living with vision impairment simply because they cannot access the care they need for conditions like short and far sightedness, glaucoma and cataract. This is particularly concentrated in low and middle income countries, where the unmet need is estimated to be four times than in high income countries. The report recommends integrating and scaling up a ‘people-centred approach’ to eye care, as part of all countries’ journeys towards Universal Health Coverage.
2020 is a pivotal year for global eye health. It marks the conclusion of VISION 2020, which has guided action over the past two decades, and the WHO’s ‘Universal Eye Health Global Action Plan 2014-2019’.”