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By Damian Facciolo | On Monday 27th June 2016 | 0 Comments

Professor Kazuichi Konyama

Professor Kazuichi Konyama, a highly respected and distinguished ophthalmologist and teacher, passed away last week on 21 June 2016. He was 87.

Prof Konyama began his medical career in the 1950s and trained in Thailand, Japan, the US. He was a passionate advocate for blindness prevention, for applying epidemiology and for quality in ophthalmology and patient care.
His legacy will endure for many decades to come, particularly through the graduates who studied at the Institute of Public Health in Ophthalmology in Nakorn Ratchasima, Thailand (known as the Korat course). Many of Prof Konyama’s students in Korat have gone on to lead blindness prevention programs in countries across the region, and have prioritised public health.
Prof Konyama helped to strengthen and establish blindness prevention programs in India, Thailand, Mongolia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Malaysia and Cambodia to name just a handful.
Prof Konyama worked as a consultant with the World Health Organization in Geneva and Manila and always encouraged inter-country sharing and technical exchanges through workshops and training. He travelled extensively, but...
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By Yuddha Dhoj Sapkota | On Tuesday 7th June 2016 | 1 Comment

Minister of Health Her Excellency Ms Iruthisham Adam, Dr Tara Prasad Das, IAPB SEA Regional Chair, Prof. Henry Adala, LCIF Technical Advisor, Africa

I am delighted to report back from a successful ‘dissemination workshop’ for data from the first-ever population based RAAB survey in Maldives. The workshop was organized by the WHO country office in Maldives and was graced by the honorable Minister of Health Her Excellency Ms Iruthisham Adam, Dr Tara Prasad Das, IAPB SEA Regional Chair, Prof. Henry Adala, LCIF Technical Advisor, Africa, Deputy Ministers and policy makers of Maldives and other eye care colleagues from the island nation.

The RAAB was conducted in 60-odd clusters during February-March 2016 and was made possible by a generous grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation. So, it was only fitting that H.E. Ms Adam gifted Prof Adala a plaque to commemorate the date, as a token of the country’s appreciation.

During the Result dissemination workshop Mr Ubeydulla Thoufeeq, Principal Investigator of the survey from Health Protection Agency, Maldives, Ms. Shabana Fathima, Study Coordinator and I (Yuddha Sapkota, Certified RAAB Trainer, IAPB SEA regional coordinator) presented the major findings of the survey.  In summary:

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By Damian Facciolo | On Thursday 26th May 2016 | 0 Comments

My Linh smiling after an operation, Vietnam, FHF

Universal Health Coverage (or UHC) is about making sure all people can access the health care they need without suffering financial hardship. The Regional Action Plan for Universal Eye Health in the Western Pacific urges governments to ensure that “essential eye-care, low vision and rehabilitation services are included in national health financing approaches for universal health coverage” and calls on international partners to advocate for coverage of eye-care services by insurance schemes.

In the Western Pacific – particularly in parts of Asia – the main game for UHC is in expanding health insurance programs, as governments invest more in social protection programs. In China, more than 95 per cent of the population is now covered by one of the three public schemes and in Vietnam, more than 70 per cent of cataract surgeries are reimbursed through Vietnam Social Security. In the Philippines, cataract is one of the top claimed procedures for PhilHealth. In Lao PDR, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea more nascent financing initiatives are being reformed and expanded.

Together with the Fred Hollows Foundation, the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Australian Aid and the World Health Organization, we...

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By Zoe Gray | On Tuesday 17th May 2016 | 0 Comments

Phaco post-op in Petit-Goâve, Haiti by Timothy Fuller

IAPB has been active in influencing the development of the WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health (GSAP) to be considered for adoption this May at the World Health Assembly. This has included contributing to consultations with some issues successfully taken up. Speaking with members of the WHO ageing and life-course team at the consultation in Geneva in October last year, their feedback to me was very promising about attention to eye health; and the draft GSAP reflects this.  

Importantly the GSAP emphasises the importance of preserving or restoring people’s ‘intrinsic capacities’ such as sight and hearing amongst others, and when impairments or health conditions are permanent ensuring the right enabling environments (physical, policy, social) so that people can live well later in life.

The GSAP acknowledges that problems that frequently affect older persons including loss of sight and hearing are often missed by health professionals. It emphasises that there can be lack of guidance in recognizing and managing impairments and geriatric syndromes and also that early markers of functional decline are often not noticed for timely treatment. It stresses that the needs of older persons be addressed in a person-centred...

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