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By Tejah Balantrapu | On Friday 31st July 2015 | 0 Comments

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam speaking at 9GA

It is with great sadness we note that Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India and global VISION 2020 Ambassador for nearly a decade, passed away on July 27, 2015. Widely known as the “people’s President”, Dr Kalam was an immensely popular scientist with the ability to inspire and enthuse millions around the world on the benefits of science.

Among his many interests and causes, he always found time for blindness prevention and had accepted the role of a global ambassador for VISION 2020 nearly a decade ago.

He was a staunch supporter of blindness prevention activities around the world and insisted that we plan for, and achieve, ambitious eye health targets. At IAPB’s 9th General Assembly, where he was the keynote speaker, he had urged the WHO to aim to reduce avoidable blindness by 50%, by the year 2020.

IAPB condoles his passing and our thoughts are with his family and millions of well-wishers.

By Tejah Balantrapu | On Tuesday 28th July 2015 | 86 Comments

Prof Brien Holden

Prof Brien Holden – extraordinary scientist, and a champion for eye health and optometry services across the world – passed away on 27 July 2015.

His immense contributions to vision research and his passion for eliminating avoidable blindness and vision impairment always went hand in hand. He worked with a variety of partners across geographies to help deliver ‘vision for everyone, everywhere’.

Prof Holden was always generous with his time and support for IAPB, and has been a part of the IAPB board for more than a decade. The success of many IAPB initiatives, including the latest WHO Global Action Plan and the 9th General Assembly, was made possible by his unflinching support. Indeed, he has been generous with his support for the 10th General Assembly as well. “Brien Holden cared deeply for eye health, especially where it was most needed. His work will continue to impact many millions – especially his initiatives for training, data-gathering and advocacy. Brien will be missed”, said Joanna Conlon, Director of Development and Communication, IAPB.

Bob McMullan, President, IAPB, said “He was an inspiration to me and many others for his combination of science, humanitarian commitment and financial acumen.  He was the person for whom the phrase "larger than life" might have been created.”


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By Damian Facciolo | On Tuesday 14th July 2015 | 0 Comments

Re-posted with permission from the IAPB Western Pacific blog.

EHSa Workshop participants, Hanoi, Vietnam IAPB Western Pacific, 2015
In early July, eye health experts from across Asia and the Pacific gathered in Hanoi for a 5-day short course to workshop ways to strengthen health systems, improve eye health and work towards Universal Health Coverage.
Held at Hanoi School of Public Health, the course was delivered by Dr Karl Blanchet from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, with funding from Australian Aid. Lectures on principles of health financing, the situation in Vietnam, governance and leadership, human resources, integration, quality and service delivery expanded knowledge on the key issues facing eye health programs.
Traditionally, some eye health programs were developed to run parallel to broader health systems. In more recent years, programming for blindness prevention has become more intergrated and horizontal, and WHO’s Universal Eye Health: A Global Action Plan 2014-19 has a clear emphasis on health systems strengthening. Of course there is still much more to do, particularly to ensure services are sustainable and high quality.
How can we make maximise the benefits...
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By Tejah Balantrapu | On Friday 26th June 2015 | 0 Comments


The IAPB website is poised to mark an internal milestone – 2 million views since launch. What is even more encouraging for us is the fact that we managed to halve the time it took us to reach the second million – the first million took us 16 months, while the second took just 8. The website’s growth is coinciding with our steadily growing numbers on two of our main ‘outreach’ activities – our newsletters (VISION 2020 Newsletter and IAPB Focus) and our social media presence (Twitter and Facebook, primarily, but also LinkedIn ).

We know that you come to the IAPB website looking to find information that is accurate and useful for your advocacy and planning – indeed, this is a key strategic aim for IAPB. This idea animates the choices we make on the website. Historically, the website has hosted key blindness data from the WHO (and now, also from the...

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