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Following their meetings in Kigali, Rwanda this week, the 54 leaders of Commonwealth nations, have built on their commitment from 2018 calling on countries to make a ‘multi-pronged approach for access to screenings and affordable vision treatments, especially for children’.
The commitment comes after a 4-year campaign by the Vision for the Commonwealth Coalition which includes charities and organisations from across the Commonwealth and is led by IAPB. The campaign called for Commonwealth leaders to prioritise school vision screenings and affordable treatment for all children living in Commonwealth nations.
President Masisi of Botswana had earlier in the week called on fellow Commonwealth Heads of Government to make the commitment saying “our work [as leaders] is not yet done. Now is the time for the Commonwealth to redouble its efforts, so that every child can love their eyes”
The full text from the Heads of Government Communique states “Taking note of the progress made in increasing access to quality eye care, including eliminating blinding trachoma and early detection of glaucoma, Heads encouraged a multi-pronged approach for access to screenings and affordable vision treatments, especially for children.”
Peter Holland Chair of the Vision for the Commonwealth Coalition and Chief Executive of IAPB said, “Eye health has long been a neglected public health issue, and with evidence to suggest that by 2050 half the world’s population will have myopia we are on the verge of a global crisis which world leaders must step in to prevent.”
“We praise Commonwealth governments for their global leadership in working towards the eradication of blinding trachoma. We also welcome this commitment to prioritise sight screenings and affordable treatment, so as many children as possible see clearly” Peter Holland concludes.