On 2 Feb, 50 IAPB Western Pacific members and eye health advocates met in an online meeting to discuss eye health advocacy and actions in the region. These regional update sessions aim to to bring together the eye health sector colleagues and facilitate national and local translation of the global policies and strategies through the learnings of actions from each other’s countries.
IAPB Regional Manager Drew Keys moderated the meeting, and it opened with remarks from the Regional Chair, Amanda Davis where she recalled the IAPB WHO Western Pacific meeting in November 2022.
The meeting proceeded with the global policy and advocacy updates, before national eye health advocates from the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, and Ethiopia shared their stories on implementing the global strategy at a national and local level. Representatives shared these updates:
- Dr Mavi Rondaris, The Fred Hollows Foundation country manager Philippines and co-chair of the National Committee for Sight Preservation (NCSP) shared that Philippines is one of the leading countries from the region in developing strategic planning on eye health. She shared how advocacy about the Fred Hollows/DFAT-led Advanced Integrated People Centred Eye Care (IPEC) project led to a review of the NCSP terms of reference; in-turn opening the door for the embedding of the 2030 InSight Strategy.
- Ben Zuvani, National Coordinator for Eye Health in Papua New Guinea mentioned how they work with government and department of health for the advocacy towards strengthening eye care service delivery in the country.
- Diane Rogers, Coordinator of Eye Health Aotearoa shared how their advocacy was successful in conducting the WHO’s Eye Care Situation Assessment Tool (ECSAT) in New Zealand, an example of the world’s first ECSAT in a developed health economy. Rogers mentioned that the long effort in advocating for eye health survey in NZ was supported by the WHO tool and IAPB resources. Her remarks provide insight to the fundamental steps towards advocacy in any country. The learnings from the mid-term review of the IPEC project in the Philippines and Ethiopia, was shared by Elise Moo. The focus of the project was community engagement and empowerment and eye care integration prioritizing community and primary level. Despite the widely agreed global strategies of IPEC, the implementation at ground met with challenges of context specific regulations and restrictions. Resources like the IPEC toolkit were helpful to generate understanding among the eye health sector and support collective action that requires an implementing strategy. The translation of the global strategies needs to be through locally relevant and contextually flexible approaches.
There will be another regional update session for Western Pacific later this year.
Join us for the next Advocacy to Action Regional Session: Africa
Save the Date: 9 March 2023, 11:00 GMT
The regional update session for Africa will include the regional policy and advocacy updates on eye health. The session will share some country stories from the region on advocacy activities and discuss upon the learnings and processes to guide other countries.
Invitations will be sent to you by our IAPB Africa regional coordinator Simon Day. For further information, please contact [email protected]