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 new Global Action Plan (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.
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
- the prevalence and causes of visual impairment;
- the number of eye care personnel; and
- cataract surgical rate and coverage (1)
- Serious shortages in trained personnel, particularly in Africa.
- Low surgical rates and irregular outreach to the poorest and rural populations.
- For many poor and marginalised people the cost of treatment can be prohibitive.
- Transport, lack of appropriate technologies and discrimination cause further difficulties in access to eye health for vulnerable groups of people such as the poor, minorities, persons with disability and women
- Changing demographic and health trends – Ageing populations and Diabetes, for example.
To meet the Action Plan's objectives, it is important that an active and effective Eye Health (or VISION 2020) national committee is in place at the country level. The Guidelines for Eye Health Committees suggests good practices for constituting and operating a national Eye Health Committee to achieve the Action Plan's mandate.
(1) Cataract surgery rate - number of cataract surgeries performed per year, per million population and coverage - number of individuals with bilateral cataract causing visual impairment, who have received cataract surgery on one or both eyes.