We are particularly excited that this year’s Council is taking place in Africa. We would like to give a huge “well done” shout out to the decision makers and organisers for making this possible. The Eye Health programme of Light for the World focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa, and we know how crucial a signal this is. Africa must be at the centre of discussions about eye health, as the need to strengthen the continent’s health systems to ensure universal access to eye health is enormous. We know the international learning opportunity that the IAPB Council of Members represents. Light for the World is enabling the participation of Ministry of Health representatives from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Uganda, as well as several members of our Eye health team from our African offices at the Council.
Light for the World is thrilled that the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (IsDB) will also be present at the Council and contribute to the programme. Indeed, the second generation of the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness programme in 13 African countries has the potential to change the game towards strong eye health systems in the next 5 years. We are proud to be technical partners of the IsDB to support planning for this programme, together with our consortium partners OPC, Sightsavers, Helen Keller International and IAPB, working hand in hand with respective Ministries of Health. We can’t wait for their breakout session on Monday 7th October 2pm to 3:30pm.
Last but not least, we are confident that our own breakout session on sustainability on Monday 7th of October from 11am to 12.30pm will also be worthwhile for participants. Our panel will explore what sustainable development means when it comes to eye health work and possible concrete strategies. For Light for the World, making sure that eye health services reach those most in need, while all the time strengthening health systems to provide quality services in the long term, is paramount. We hope that we are, step by step, “working ourselves out of a job”.