Global Action Plan 2014-2019
'Universal Eye Health' - the WHO Global Action Plan
“Universal Eye Health: A global action plan 2014 – 2019" (GAP) was unanimously adopted by Member States at the World Health Assembly in 2013 as part of WHA resolution 66.4 (also read: What is universal eye health?).
The Vision of the GAP is:
“A world in which nobody is needlessly visually impaired, where those with unavoidable vision loss can achieve their full potential and where there is universal access to comprehensive eye care services.”
The Goal of the GAP is to:
- Reduce Visual Impairment as a global public health problem
- Secure access to rehabilitation for visually impaired services
The Objectives of the GAP are to:
- Generate evidence on magnitude and causes of VI and use it in advocacy;
- Develop and implement integrated national eye health policies and plans;
- Ensure multi-sectoral engagement and effective partnerships.
The GAP sets itself a Global Target of a “Reduction in prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by 2019” (from the baseline prevalence in 2010).
To monitor progress a small number of key indicators are to be monitored:
- Prevalence and Causes of VI;
- Numbers of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Allied Ophthalmic Personnel;
- Cataract Surgical Rate and Cataract Surgical Coverage
The GAP builds upon VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, the Global Initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
WHA Resolution 66.4 containing the GAP is the latest of four recent WHA resolutions (2003, 2006, 2009 and 2013) that have reinforced the aim and objectives of VISION 2020. The 2009 resolution, WHA 62.1, also had an Action Plan spanning the period 2009-2013.
GAP’s Areas of Focus
- Generating evidence on the magnitude and causes of visual impairment and use it to advocate increased commitment from countries - both political and financial.
- Integrated national eye health policies, plans and programmes to enhance universal eye health
- Multisectoral engagement and effective partnerships to strengthen eye health
These areas of focus (or “objectives” as GAP calls them) also reflect IAPB and its Members current strategies for eye health, vision impairment and rehabilitation and our efforts to establish the services required to bring eye health to the most marginalised and poorest groups in society. Important though the new Action Plan is, it will only add value if it is now taken up at country level and national governments take responsibility for implementing the GAP in their country.