What does the VISION 2020 Workshops programme mean to you? What was its impact on eye care service and delivery around the world?
I joined ICEH in 2007 to support the VISION 2020 workshop programme whose purpose was to advocate for VISION 2020 and to support national governments to develop and implement their national eye care plans.
Two things have always struck me about VISION 2020: firstly it is a wonderful example of what working together can achieve and secondly the strength of having such a clear goal, particularly one that was so easy to communicate and demonstrate.
The workshop programme was a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders to work towards a single agenda and in some cases was the first time state, public, private and (I)NGOs had all sat down together to deliberate over how to provide affordable and effective eye care for their country.
To me the success of the workshops lay in the process of planning; where planners, policy makers, funders and implementers were brought together to discuss, debate, forge new working relationships and to work together for a common goal.
VISION 2020 helped bring the sector together. What key aspects of the Workshops programme helped bring diverse stakeholders together?
By their nature the workshops were a forum for bringing people together and were a vehicle to kick start national eye health planning processes and the establishment of the National Prevention of Blindness Committees. It was these Committees who then went on to lead the planning and to advocate for resource allocation for the National plans.
In many countries the workshops were a starting point and launched the development of a national eye health planning.
What do you think was VISION 2020’s biggest achievement? And the Programme’s?
Firstly the biggest achievement must be in its impact and thanks to global data from WHO and the VLEG we are able to see real improvements in global blindness and visual impairment trends since VISION 2020 was launched.
Secondly the unified voice – VISION 2020 was a powerful call to action that united the eye care world around a common goal. It is an exceptionally successful brand with global recognition throughout the eye care world that remains so to this day.
For the workshop programme, I think its success was to help launch VISION 2020 at the national level by advocating for a coordinated approach to national eye care planning. And ultimately the workshops were a catalyst which brought together the right people at the right time.