For over 40 years, a large global partnership has been battling river blindness (the medical term is onchocerciasis), one of the most devastating of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Huge progress has been made to control the disease; however, it remains among the most prevalent of the NTDs and continues to cause visual impairment, blindness and debilitating skin disease among some of the poorest people on the planet.
This document serves as a framework to address these concerns, identify unique opportunities and alert the international community to the exciting possibility of the elimination of transmission of the disease, but also serves as a wake-up call to the consequences of not continuing the effort. Slowing the momentum would result in disease recurrence, the waste of 40 years of important research, and major stakeholder inputs, creating a major reversal of a public health success.
The Guide outlines strategies and approaches proposed by WHO that provide practical, step-by-step support to Member States in the planning and implementation of integrated people-centred eye care (IPEC).