As we come to the end of my second year as President of IAPB, I look back at all the amazing achievements of our members and am totally amazed at what a year it has been. Earlier in October I was lucky enough to be standing at the United Nations Headquarters as we took the Love Your Eyes message to corridors of power the world over, and I realised at this moment what we have achieved in 2022.
For so many of us, the scale of global eye health is clear. We know how many people live with preventable vision loss, without the means to access the treatment they need. We know the key role sight and accessibility plays in people reaching their full potential. We work tirelessly every day to address it. However, it has not always been easy to make everyone else understand and value vision as they do other health and development issues.
Global awareness is vital for engaging the public and we know to achieve our 2030 in Sight strategy it is key that we take our message out to as many people in the world as possible, heads of government, politicians, decision makers, diplomats and the individuals on the street.
Together this year we have achieved, the biggest World Sight Day ever, commitments at the Commonwealth Heads of Government and inclusion of eye health in the UN Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting on Improving Global Road Safety. We’ve had targets set for Refractive Error and Cataract and launched our new Knowledge Hub, as a go to place for sector resources.
A personal highlight for me was to meet so many of you as I have travelled around the world, whether it was at our standout 2030 In Sight Live! event in Dubai, at the Love Your Eyes Voices event in New York, or at some of our regional meetings. With our world opening up once again, it has been great to meet our members and witness the work they are doing around the world.
The power of collective action should never be underestimated, and it is only when we work together that magical moments such as this happen. Imagine what could happen if we fuel the same focus, energy and excitement to build on these incredible achievements and use them as a catalyst for the system leadership we need and the vision we have.
I am thrilled by the noise and enthusiasm we created this year and am inspired by what is to come – a world where everyone understands that eye health must be accessible, available and affordable to all. The energy I saw in October while at the UN and our Love Your Voices event makes me believe that we can truly achieve a world where no-one experiences unnecessary or preventable sight loss and everyone can achieve their full potential. We are well on our way to implementing the goals of our 2030 In Sight strategy and just need to keep at it.
Thank you all for believing that we could do it and pulling behind IAPB to prove that we can.