On 12-13 July 2022, IAPB held a sub-regional workshop focussing on the East and Southern Africa region in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting brought together representation from World Health Organization AFRO, IAPB member agencies, IAPB Partners and National Ministries of Health from within sub-region.
The purpose of the workshop was to equip stakeholders in the sub-region with the knowledge and technical resources to deliver the 2030 IN SIGHT strategy and develop national level implementation plans. The meeting objectives were to:
- Highlight how the 2030 IN SIGHT strategy can be implemented at the regional and national level
- Showcase tools for delivering the strategy
- To collectively agree on the ambition for implementing the 2030 In Sight strategy
- Agree on concrete steps and timelines
Throughout the programme, participants unpacked the three pillars of the 2030 In Sight strategy: Elevate, Integrate and Activate. They were exposed to the various mechanisms and resources available to implement each and then they workshopped national level implementation plans for each pillar.
The session on Elevate focussed on raising the eye health agenda at the regional, sub-regional and national level. At the regional level WHO AFRO presented on their Eye Health plan for the 2023-24 biennium which focuses on strengthening governance, strategic information and surveillance, capacity building and service delivery. They pointed out however that limited resources hampered their ability to implement the plan in full. In particular, he (Dr Prebo Barango) pointed to the absence of an eye health focal point within the organisation.
The Integrate session explored the strengthening of eye health through systemic change which generally requires adjustments or transformations in the policies, practices, power dynamics, social norms or mindsets that underlie the societal issue at stake. This involves the collaboration of a diverse set of players and can take place on a local, national or global level. WHO also presented on the recently launched Eye Care in Health Systems: Guide for action which is a practical resource for countries to analyse, plan, implement and review IPEC. IAPB also shared the Integrated People-centred Eye Care Advocacy to Action toolkit, a reference point for key information, tools, templates, and resources to advocate for and initiate policy dialogue process for implementation of Integrated IPEC in countries. Participants also heard from the Ministries of Health of Ethiopia and Kenya about their real world experiences during their IPEC implementation efforts which provided practical insights into the process.
In the final session on Activate, IAPB presented on campaigning ideas with a view on activating the 2030 IN SIGHT Strategy. Due to the enormous success of World Sight Day 2021 where the “Love your eyes” theme ensured the day gained more traction than ever before it was decided to retain this as the umbrella for the wider campaign, and to encourage the public to help the sector towards our 2030 in sight strategic vision.
Further to this, there is a focus on 3 ‘Actions’ to bring the campaign to life and be strong, rallying calls to action – understandable to the widest audience possible. The 3 calls to action are:
- Accessible eye care
- Available sight tests
- Affordable glasses
Three actions to educate, inform and encourage. Members were called upon to take up the challenge of campaigning in the lead up to, and on World Sight Day using the “Love your eyes theme bolstered by the 3 ‘Actions’. They were also encouraged to undertake other related activities such as pledge to carry out eye testing and promoting the World Sight Day photo competition. Tools designed to help members undertake World Sight Day activities can be found on the IAPB website.
At the end of each session, participants broke into country groups tasked with drafting country plans to implement the respective 2030 IN SIGHT pillar, asking what will be done at country level. These plans were to be held by the Ministry of Health representatives and supported by the members. Stakeholders were then requested to commit to undertake one activity from their respective country plan to be carried out within the next six months. IAPB looks forward to working with the members and other partners to carry out these committed activities in the pursuit of the implementation of 2030 IN SIGHT.
Access the IAPB East/ Southern Africa Sub-Regional Workshop here