2022 was a big year for the WHO’ programme of work on eye care and vision. The launch of the much-anticipated WHO tools and a set of new health promotion materials provide a great foundation for the advancement of eye care at the national level. Here is an overview of everything released this year:
Eye Care in Health Systems: Guide for Action
This guide was launched during the World Health Assembly in May 2022, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Guide for Action is a set of tools, which provide step-by-step guidance to support countries in implementing the recommendations of World Report on Vision and the resolution WHA73.4 “Integrated people-centred eye care (IPEC), including preventable vision impairment and blindness”.
The Guide for Action includes four tools developed by the WHO to support countries in the analysis, planning, implementation, and review of IPEC. These tools are used through the four phases of IPEC implementation: Analyze, Plan, Do and Review. Access the guide for action at this link. WHO has also produced a short video on Eye care in health systems: Guide for Action, which describes the key elements in the guide and its four accompanying tools. Access the video at this link.
The four tools of the Guide for Action are:
- Eye Care Situation Assessment Tool (ECSAT): used in the phase one – Analyse, to comprehensively assess eye care service systems and policies in a country. It is designed to answer what is the current situation in terms of strengths, weaknesses and inequalities; what priority areas need to be addressed in the eye care strategic plan; and what are the possible activities to address the gaps. ECSAT can be accessed at this link.
- Eye Care Indicator Menu: used in phase two – Plan, is a comprehensive set of input, output, outcome and impact indicators that countries can select from, to monitor the implementation of strategies and actions for eye care provision at the national and sub national levels in line with IPEC. The eye care indicator menu improves the monitoring of the eye care strategic plan, integration of eye care into the health information system and building evidence through eye care data collection. Access the eye care indicator menu at this link.
- Package of eye care interventions: used in phase three – Do, includes a set of evidence-based eye care interventions across the continuum of care from health promotion all the way through to vision rehabilitation. This tool also provides resources required for the implementation of the selected eye care interventions including equipment, medicines consumables and assistive technologies. Package of eye care interventions facilitates integration of eye care into their health services packages and policies. Access the package of eye care interventions at this link.
- Eye care competency framework: also used in phase three- Do, enables planning and development of the eye care workforce to be aligned to a recognized standard of comprehensive competencies and activities. This tool can be applied across all the diverse occupational groups found within the eye care workforce- from community eye health workers to ophthalmic nurses, optometrists, and ophthalmologist. The competencies and activities of an eye care worker are presented through six domains of practice, professionalism, learning and development, management and leadership, community and advocacy, and evidence. This tool assists with maintaining an effective eye care workforce to meet population needs. Access eye care competency framework from here.
To apply this tool appropriately, WHO has developed a Guide to applying the WHO Eye Care Competency Framework. This guide provides a step-by-step approach on how users can adapt and use the ECCF in their context. Additionally, this also guides users to develop their own competency framework or competency-based curricula for their setting. The guide includes four case studies from varied settings. Access the guide at this link.
Myopia Ed toolkit
Earlier this year, WHO launched the MyopiaEd toolkit to support countries and stakeholders to develop, implement and monitor large scale digital health programs aimed at control of progression and prevalence of myopia. The program aims can include improving awareness on the importance of regular eye examinations and spectacle adherence; and supporting behavior change that may delay the onset and slow the progression of myopia. Access MyopiaEd toolkit here.
Health Promotion Materials
Health promotion is key to improving eye health. WHO have produced a set of health promotion materials to raise awareness of the various ways to keep eyes healthy. The social media tiles include steps for healthy eyes, common eye exercise like the 20-20-20 rule, use of eye medications, among many and an infographic poster on steps for healthy eyes. Access all these health education and communication resources and use it for awareness among public.
WHO Tobacco Knowledge Summaries
IAPB and WHO Tobacco team jointly produced an evidence paper on the association between tobacco use and vision loss as a part of WHO Tobacco Knowledge Summaries. The knowledge summary was officially released and displayed at the exhibition in the United Nations headquarters, New York during the vision screening event, on the occasion of World Sight Day. The Tobacco and vision loss summary is another vital advocacy tool and encourages all health care professionals, in particular ophthalmologists, optometrists, and other eye care specialists, to join the fight for tobacco control and prevention of tobacco related adverse health effects. Access Tobacco and Vision Loss at this link.
Global Status Report on 2030 Eye Care Targets
On World Sight Day at the United Nations, the WHO launched its Global Status Report on 2030 Eye Care Targets. The report presents estimates of effective cataract surgery coverage and effective refractive error coverage to serve as reference points to begin monitoring progress towards the 2030 global targets.
The findings provide a powerful tool to advocate for more action particularly around gender equity and quality. The report can be accessed here.
IPEC Advocacy to Action Toolkit
In line with the WHO Guide for Action, to support IAPB members to advocate for implementation of IPEC in countries, IAPB produced an IPEC Advocacy to Action Toolkit. The toolkit is a central reference point for all the resources, messages, eye health policy papers, tools and templates. The toolkit is enormously beneficial to start conversation around IPEC with the policy makers and conduct policy dialogue on IPEC. It includes PowerPoint slide, editable letter and policy brief templates which can be adapted and used in real case scenario while communicating with the policy makers in a country. Make sure you have a copy of this by accessing at this link and please follow the tips for successful advocacy as included in the toolkit!