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As we boarded our flights home, our heads full of the inspiring and dynamic discussions, innovative ideas and progressions from the Council, we wanted to commend IAPB on the great success of the Council of Members 2018 by offering a congratulatory wrap-up.
Brien Holden Vision Institute is a Group A Sponsorship IAPB Member and we are keen to express some of the benefits we are experiencing from this collaborative opportunity. Being a medium-sized organisation with limited resources to progress work on global advocacy, being part of IAPB is a very cost effective and practical way for us to operate.
More than ever we can see that the work of IAPB and its members have the potential to leapfrog to the next phase of eliminating avoidable blindness on a global scale. The opportunity that exists within the WHO World Report on Vision is both inspiring and exciting. And as members of this global movement we are keen to ensure our strategies align with, and are directly supportive of, the key areas being propositioned as inclusions.
Events such as the Council of Members, being held in regularity, are critical opportunities for our diverse membership community to exchange ideas, strengthen our resolve and update our critical thinking to further progress the bigger goals being tabled. It is for all these reasons that we feel as an organisation that IAPB is a valuable investment for us to continue to support new, and strengthen existing, collaborations.
We had a few exciting announcements ourselves which we very much enjoyed sharing amongst the membership community, enabled by the outstanding organisation and event scheduling of the IAPB team.
Our Children’s Vision campaign had a monumental statement to share, excitingly stating, “In April 2016, Our Children’s Vision was launched with the ambitious goal of reaching 50 million children with vision services by 2020. In 2018, through the hard work of our 79 partner organisations in 55 countries, the half-way milestone for this ambitious project was met and passed ahead of schedule. 27 million children from America to Zimbabwe have had their vision tested. Over 1,700,000 pairs of glasses have been handed out.”
Wow. We are incredibly grateful to all the partners who have joined Our Children’s Vision and we cannot echo the words of our CEO, Amanda Davis, enough. “We knew we couldn’t do it alone.” And now with these amazing partner and screening numbers totalled up and verified, we are sure we don’t have to.
Our Children’s Vision has also helped develop comprehensive guidelines for school health programmes for low and middle-income countries. It has successfully advocated for a School Eye Health Working Group within the IAPB, and with the Global Partnership for Education and the World Bank completed two in-depth reports on child eye health in 43 countries.
The School Eye Health Guidelines have been translated in French, Chinese and Spanish and will soon be available on the Our Children’s Vision and IAPB websites. We also have a commitment for translation in Portuguese and Russian. We are in discussions about translation of the guidelines in Arabic. The dissemination webinars will start at the end October and November this year.
Please continue to join Our Children’s Vision and be a part of this important mission, to change the lives of 50 million children by 2020, and the countless more who will come after them.
Lastly but by no means least, we congratulate Dr Suit May Ho on being our IAPB Eye Health Hero 2018!