The “Commitment to promote Universal Eye Health and eliminate blinding NTDs” was launched at the Celebration ceremony of the IAPB 10th General Assembly.
The General Assembly comes at a critical time in the implementation of the Global Action Plan on Universal Eye Health 2014-2019, which was adopted unanimously in the 66th World Health Assembly in May 2013. At the World Health Assembly in 2017 a progress report on the Global Action Plan will be presented. This will allow to take stock of its implementation up to now and to address the challenges in the years ahead to achieve the global target of the reduction in prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25%.
By signing up to the ‘Commitment to promote Universal Eye Health and eliminate blinding NTDs’ Ministers of Health in the Africa Region demonstrate their continued commitment to “provide and/or coordinate universal access to comprehensive and equitable eye care services, with emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly” and “incorporating national trachoma and onchocerciasis elimination activities” (Global Action Plan). The Commitment also calls for linking initiatives on Universal Eye Health to the Sustainable Development Goals by setting respective national targets and indicators.
This Commitment, which also calls on support from development partners, intends to send a strong sign from the Africa Region towards progressing further on the elimination of avoidable visual impairment, addressing emerging challenges such as Myopia and Diabetic Retinopathy, and eliminating blinding NTDs.
It is intended to present the Commitment with its signatories at a Side Event on Universal Eye Health during the 2017 World Health Assembly.
Liberia, together with Zambia, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, is among the first countries that have signed the Commitment. (South Africa and Kenya soon!)