On July 27, the Western Pacific came together for the second Advocacy to Action of the year. Whilst an opportunity to recap Singapore 2030 IN SIGHT LIVE, there was also a focus on how we can improve the sharing of learnings and challenges across the membership – especially when it comes to eye sector advocacy in our region.
IAPB Knowledge Manager, Junu Shrestha, presented the Global Update with a particular focus on how this is relevant in the Western Pacific. This something we can miss in our focus on our day jobs and so its always handy to remember that the decisions made at WHO in Geneva have an impact – albeit often indirect – on the operations of your local hospital. For example, Malaysia is stepping forward to sponsor the Refractive Error Resolution at WHA76 – this will be great for elevating refractive error as an issue on the global agenda… and also, just imagine the renewed focus this will bring to all eye health in Malaysia?
We were very lucky to be joined by guest panellists Dr Alma Nacuvu, newly elected President of PacEYES, Ms Amanda Huang – The Fred Hollows Foundation China and Ms Amanda Davis who bravely agreed to an ‘Ask IAPB Anything’ session in her role as Regional Chair. The guest Moderator was Holden Kim, CEO of LabSD who commented, “it was specifically interesting to compare the similarity of challenges that each country is facing and also that the lack of awareness is at totally different levels and dimensions. To hear this voiced was so valuable.”
Holden hit the nail on the head – the A2A gave us a forum to share and learn. Which leads us to the Advocacy Networks that we are considering in the region. These are completely voluntary, do not interfere with the activities of our national committee, rather are proposed as an opportunity to learn from each other across borders, As Holden noted, the challenges are quite often the same – but the responses vary dramatically. Hopefully this will give us another tool in our kit!
Thanks again to our guests and also to all of you who participated.