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Western Pacific Consultation on Health Leadership

Published: 26.02.2024
Dr Anthea Burnett Consultant to IAPB & Fred Hollows Foundation
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IAPB held a Western Pacific Regional Consultation Meeting on Wednesday 14th February on Eye Health Leadership opportunities in the region. In partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation, we have initiated research which will lead to addressing the lack of volume, quality, and equitable distribution of the workforce, with a focus on the development of eye health leadership.

Dr. Anthea Burnett showcased the results of a rapid, desk-based review. This review highlighted the growing need for strategic eye care leadership planning, in response to the unique challenges in the region. It also connected to the global mandate for strategic regional leadership planning and emphasized the need for leadership beyond clinical domains such as those typically part of the ‘public health’ workforce, e.g. epidemiologists, health economists, IT specialists, and public policy administrators.

The review’s findings are clear: the current eye care workforce is stretched thin against the burgeoning demand, with limited focus on developing the necessary eye health leadership. Attendees reflected on the success of past programs, such as those led by the Korat Institution of Public Health Ophthalmology and the East Asia Vision Program, both of which have left a lasting legacy in eye health leadership development. Despite the absence of these programs today, there has been progress in the region in integrating eye care within existing systems, advancing ophthalmological education, and fostering research and leadership in public health.

Although further consultation will be necessary, we are confident that a data-driven and consultative approach, combined with the IAPB’s commitment to actionable results, will lead to enhanced eye health leadership across the Western Pacific. Lookout for a survey tool, currently under development and expected to be shared widely with membership in the coming weeks.