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The Korean Eye Care Working Group (KECWG) meeting took place on the 27th of May, 2022 at Yonsei University Health System. It was the first off-line meeting since the launch of the World Report on Vision at the end of 2019 due to the restrictions and precautions for the pandemic. Amongst the member organizations, Yonsei University Health System (Chair), Good People International, Heart to Heart Foundation, Vision Care, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Hillrom Korea, and LabSD, Inc. participated in the meeting.
One of the most important agendas of the meeting was to revisit the ‘2030 In Sight Strategy,’ which was previously introduced at the online KECWG meeting in September 2021. The meeting thoroughly covered how the new strategy respects the legacy of ‘VISION’ 2020 with an introduction of the extended concept of Vision Loss and Promotion of Eye Health, pinpointing the challenges that the collective efforts faced over the last 30 years. There also was an emphasis on the three elements (Elevate, Integrate, and Activate) of the new strategy and how they can be applied to the current operations of the member organizations. Mr. Drew Keys, the Regional Program Manager of IAPB (Western Pacific) emphasized not only the importance of the achievements in the field of global eye health but also the significance of how they are related to the entire Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because vision is a fundamental economic, social and development issue when mentioning about the Elevate Element. Ms. Jungeun An (Good People International) provided an example of Integrate Element through Good People International’s collaboration with LabSD, Inc. with its EYELIKE Platform in Bangladesh. For the Activate Element, Mr. Sanghyuk Jo of Hillrom Korea, which has been a great supporter of the WSD since last year, shared his experience and success with the Korea Hypertension Society regarding their advocacy activities on World Hypertension Day and how KECWG can reference such activities.
Furthermore, members of KECWG had discussions about applying the Eye Care Situation Analysis Tool (ECSAT) in Korea and political dialogue regarding Korea’s domestic and global approach to the eye health sector for the better implementation of the 2030 In Sight Strategy. Most member organizations of the KECWG currently are focusing on their overseas activities to prevent blindness and promote eye health in resource-limited conditions rather than domestic activities. However, since 2030 In Sight Strategy covers a wider range of eye conditions including myopia, which is the most prevalent eye condition in the country, there were a series of ideas to engage in activities that are more suitable for this new strategy. Ms. Heidi Sangeun Nho from Yonsei University Health System (AKA Project BOM) recalled the public hearings at the National Assembly regarding the inclusion of fundus screening to the national health examination a couple of years ago, which is a good example of demonstrating the problems and solutions of domestic eye health. There also was a suggestion of Ms. Hujeong Moon of the Heart-to-Heart Foundation regarding organizations that primarily are focusing on domestic eye health issues who are not necessarily current members of IAPB.
The 2030 In Sight Strategy has just been embarked on amongst the member organizations of the KECWG. The stakes are high with the inclusion of a wide range of eye conditions and the challenges that we, as collective efforts, have identified for the last 30 years, however, we now are striking back with more allies from a variety of backgrounds to end avoidable sight loss. Let the good fight begin.