Global Action Plan 2014-2019
'Universal Eye Health' - the WHO Global Action Plan
In May 2013 the 66th World Health Assembly unanimously approved the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and Visual Impairment 2014-2019 - Towards Universal Eye Health (also read: What is universal eye health?). The vision of the global action plan is similar to IAPB's vision - 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 Global Action Plan (GAP) is a commitment endorsed by all WHO Member States to improve eye health for everyone (‘Universal Eye Health’) over the next 5 years. GAP is now the most important strategic document in eye health. It builds upon and replaces previous VISION 2020 and 2009 - 2013 Action Plans. It represents a significant step forward towards achieving ‘universal access’ to eye health.
Its goal is to reduce avoidable visual impairment as a global public health problem and to secure access to rehabilitation services for the visually impaired.
The purpose of the action plan is to achieve this goal by improving access to comprehensive eye care services that are integrated into health systems.
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.