Yuddha Sapkota Regional Manager South-East Asia IAPB
The year 2023 was focused on implementing global resolutions on eye health into national eye health policies and plans. This includes national endorsement of the IAPB sectoral strategy 2030 In Sight which is a broader form of the World Health Assembly (WHA) endorsed Integrated People Centred Eye Care (IPEC). The activities were focused on the three elements of the strategy: Elevate, Integrate and Activate.
In order to leverage capital support on global resolutions we had a pre departure meeting with the newly appointed Nepal’s Ambassadors to Geneva mission and UN Mission – organized by Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh in Kathmandu. In the meeting, we briefed their excellencies on our global eye health advocacy support on a UN envoy on Vision, Prime Minister’s participation in the UNGA 2023 side meeting to be organized by the UN Friends of Vision. Plus our efforts and lobbying for eye health to be included in SDG- UHC and Nepal co-sponsoring the Refractive error resolution in the forthcoming WHA. In the meeting their excellencies assured their firm commitment and support on these efforts. As a result, Nepal’s Prime Minister participated in the UN side meeting and talk on contribution of of eye health in achieving SDG goals.
Thanks to our advocacy efforts all member states of Southeast Asia supported our call to appoint a UN envoy on Vision.
Our advocacy effort and sensitization campaign to create awareness that eye health is not only a health issue but also a socio-economic issue, led to us presenting global commitments and resolutions on eye health and elements of the 2030 In Sight strategy in Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in Malaysia in February, Indonesia Ophthalmological Society meeting and Bangladesh Eye Health Stakeholders planning meeting in August.
A high-level meeting was organized by WHO-SEARO hosted by LV Prasad Eye Institute in February 2023. In the meeting, all Health Ministers of South East Asia extended their firm commitment to implement IPEC into their national eye health policy and plan.
At our 2030 IN SIGHT LIVE event more than 80 participants from the SEA region attended.
World Sight Day celebrations took place throughout the region. We held a successful webinar between WHO SEARO and International Labour Organization to commemorate this year’s theme Love Your Eyes at Work and achieving global and regional targets on eye health.
Our advocacy activities convening IAPB members, Ministry of Health and eye health stakeholders for implementation of the IAPB sectoral strategy and working towards planning and achieving global targets on eye health will be continued in the year to come. In 2024 we have identified two focus countries: Nepal and Indonesia adopting the strategy and Integrated People Centered eye care into national eye health policy and plan.
Image on top: Girl hiding behind curtain by MD Shamim Ul Islam