2019 in Review: Highlights from IAPB Africa

Regional Programme Coordinator
Organisation: International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB)

A portrait of a child with double cataract, who is waiting for eye surgery/ Story: 2019 in Review: Highlights from IAPB Africa

2019 has been a jam-packed year. We’ve had key launches (more on them below) of which the most notable for global eye health is the World Report on Vision. IAPB also returned to the African continent after the 10GA in Durban (in 2016) to Dar es Salaam for its Council. This was a very fruitful meeting especially in planning the future course for the Africa office (more updates on this in the new year).

In this bumper year, the top 3 highlights for the Africa region are:

  1. Publication and Launch of Key WHO AFRO Documents

Publication of the Core competencies for the Eye Health Workforce in the WHO African region

In February, WHO Afro released the Core competencies for the Eye Health Workforce in the WHO African region.  IAPB worked with WHO Afro since the inception of this initiative to develop this policy document which is a step towards improvement of the quality of eye health care.  Read more

Launch of the WHO Afro Primary Eye Care Training Manual

Orientation Meeting for the implementation of the Primary Eye Care Training ManualAlso in February, the integration of an eye health component into primary health care (more commonly PEC into PHC) took a major step forward when WHO AFRO and IAPB Africa jointly launched the new Primary Eye Care Training Manual at a key event in Ghana. With 16 Anglophone countries represented, along with the IAPB team and many member agencies, the launch took forward the PEC agenda following the publication of WHO AFRO’s PEC Training Manual towards the end of last year.  Read more.

In October, the Francophone countries were orientated on the Primary Eye Care Training Manual at an event in Douala, Cameroon.

2. IAPB Africa planning meeting

People at the IAPB Africa Planning MeetingThe IAPB Africa Planning meeting took place in Accra as the first of a series of IAPB regional meetings following the development of the 2018-2021 IAPB Global Secretariat Plan. The meeting had three objectives: To draft the 2019-2022 IAPB Africa Strategic Framework; Re-invigorate collective action and commitment to the implementation of the strategy within IAPB Africa; Clarify the roles of the IAPB Secretariat and Members in Africa.  Read more

A further session at the IAPB Council of Members in Dar es Salaam, covered the implementation of the IAPB Africa 2019-2022 Workplan and highlighted opportunities for member organisations to engage with it.  When originally developing the workplan, it was designed to reflect the roles of the IAPB secretariat as well as members relating to the key actions.  In an interactive exercise, members were asked to commit to activities in the workplan upon which their organisation could support or deliver.  The level of commitment received during this exercise was most positive and testament that the workplan is indeed on the right track.

Activities that received high levels of commitment were:

  • Launching the World report on vision at the regional and national level
  • Determining the potential for integration of Universal eye Health Coverage into national policy
  • Advocating for the for integration of Universal eye Health Coverage into national policy
  • Optimise communication channels to collate and disseminate information and knowledge

3. ECSA HC Expert Committee on Eye Health Meeting

People at the meetingIn June 2019, the ECSA-HC expert committee on eye health[1] held its second annual meeting with the objectives of presenting best and promising practices on eye health to the 12th Best Practices Forum and developing specific recommendations on eye health care in the ECSA region for submission to the ECSA Health Ministers Conference through the Directors Joint Consultative Committee (DJCC). Read more

[1] The East, Central and Southern African Health Community (ECSA-HC) is an inter-governmental health organization that fosters and promotes regional cooperation in health among member states. Member states of the ECSA HC are Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The ECSA-HC, with support of College of Ophthalmologists of East Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) and IAPB established the ECSA-HC expert committee on eye health in 2018, in an effort to raise and sustain the eye health agenda high at the national and regional.

2020 promises to be another busy year for us with the Vision 2020 initiative ending, our Global Assembly 2020 and more… We will also be launching the World Report on Vision in countries (more updates on this too soon).

Until next time..!

Image on top: A portrait of a child with double cataract, who is waiting for eye surgery by Andras D. Hajdu for #VisionFirst photo competition