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IAPB West/Central Africa Sub Regional Workshop

Published: 11.07.2023
Simon Day Africa Programme Manager
Kristine Nyabera Africa Programme Officer
Group photo

In April, IAPB held a two-day workshop for the IAPB Central and West Africa region in Accra, Ghana, with an aim of unpacking the 2030 In Sight Strategy and equip the participants with the tools for its implementation. Through a collaboration with local partner, the Ghana Red Cross Society, the workshop brought together 22 participants from and IAPB member organizations and ministries of health who participated in the workshop.

The workshop harnessed the experience of the participants in implementing eye health programs to engage in objective discussions around strategic planning to implement 2030 In Sight resulting in plans for each pillar: Elevate; Integrate; Activate.

The workshop 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.

The participants unpacked the three pillars of the 2030 In Sight Strategy; Elevate, Integrate and Activate and were exposed to the various mechanisms and resources available to implement each.

During the session on Elevate which focusses on raising the profile of the eye health agenda at the regional and country level, Dr. Prebo Barango of the WHO AFRO presented on the situation of eye health in Africa and their biennium which focusses on strengthening governance, strategic information and surveillance, capacity building and service delivery.  Mr. Senanu Quacoe provided updated on the status of the regional eye health indicators which are being integrated into the West Africa Health Organization’s regional reporting by all member states.

The Integrate session explored integration of the eye health into the wider health care system with Dr Andreas Meuller illuminating WHO’s Eye Care in Health Systems: Guide for action, a practical resource for countries to analyze, plan, implement and review Integrated People Centered Eye Care.  As a practical example of IPEC implementation, Dr Hornametor Afake of Ghana Health Services presented the findings of the Ghana ECSAT exercise which assessed the components of leadership, service delivery, infrastructure, information and financing.  He went on to describe how these results will be used to inform the development of Ghana’s national eye health plan.

Dr. Boateng Wiafe took the participants through The Ghana Red Cross Community Eye Health Volunteer Manual which was developed with an aim of strengthening the ability of the Ghana Red Cross Society’s community health volunteers to complement the work of the frontline health workers who are required to offer basic eye health services. IAPB also shared the Integrated People-centered 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.

In the final session on Activate, IAPB updated the members on the achievements of the Love Your Eyes Campaign in 2022 which saw parliamentarians and key decision makers get screened. For 2023, Simon Darvill of IAPB called upon stakeholders to focus on ‘Love your eyes at Work’ as this years’ campaign which will prioritise the world of work. Members were encouraged to engage in related activities such as sight tests and screenings in the workplace. The participants drafted plans to implement the 2030 In Sight pillar, Activate, with a focus on taking the campaign to a new level, tackling stigma, building public private partnerships and creating the right regulatory environment.

During the workshop, the participants took part in piloting the IAPB national indicators which seeks to assess, monitor and track progress in eye health towards the 2030 goals.  They were also given a demonstration of the Vula mobile app which is a medical referral app and online platform that makes it easy for rural health care workers to get advice from and refer patients to specialists.

At the end of the session, participants made commitments towards implementing the 2030 In Sight Strategy.