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By James Chen | On Thursday 14th July 2016 | 0 Comments

James Chen getting an eye test

It is no secret to members of the IAPB that there are 2.5 billion people around the world suffering from poor vision with no means of improving it. However, to the rest of the world the news of this hidden, unaddressed disability is astounding.

The need to highlight this issue on a global scale is one of the key aims behind my decision to launch a new global campaign, to help the world to see – Clearly.

Clearly is the culmination of my long journey to improve access to vision correction. It all started when I spent time in Africa growing up and saw first-hand the desperate need for people to get access to vision correction. This passion grew when I discovered the potential of adjustable glasses and founded Adlens.

Eight years ago I founded Vision for a Nation. We launched a programme in Rwanda four years ago and today, every Rwandan citizen has access to primary eye care in each of the 502 health centers across the country. Each center is staffed by at least two nurses trained to provide basic treatment, including glasses for $1.50, and to refer patients with more complex conditions to eye specialists at local hospitals. This groundbreaking national program has supported the Rwandan Ministry of Health to provide all of the country’s 10.5 million people with access to local and affordable eye care....

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By Damian Facciolo | On Monday 27th June 2016 | 1 Comment

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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