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Eye Care included in Key WHO Human Resource Strategy

Published: 28.01.2016

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released a draft global health strategy for human resources titled “Global strategy on human resources for health: Workforce 2030 (download below)”. Crucially, this strategy makes specific reference to eye health workers and specialist heath workers (Background #16), and, in Annex 2, includes cataract as one of 12 tracer indicators.

This strategy will now be presented at the Executive Board of WHO this month and then, in all likelihood, will be adopted at the 69th World Health Assembly in May 2016.

IAPB is delighted to note the specific inclusion of eye health workers and eye care conditions in this important document. This has been the result of a series of advocacy interventions by the IAPB team over the course of this document’s development. In May 2015, Peter Ackland and Zoe Gray met with Global Health Workforce Alliance board at the 58th WHA and raised the importance of eye health to be included in human resources strategies globally and at national level. Ronnie Graham from IAPB Africa also succeeded in getting attention to specialist personnel in the technical consultation in Accra to inform the strategy in July 2015.

"We are all very pleased that this work has now borne fruit. We now have some of the leverage we need to sustain our advocacy efforts around strengthening the eye health workforce, especially in Africa", said Ronnie Graham, Programme Director, IAPB Africa.

In May 2014, the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA67.24, with member states requesting the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and submit a new global strategy for human resources for health (HRH) for consideration by the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly in 2016. Over 200 experts from all WHO regions contributed to consolidating the evidence around a comprehensive health labour market framework for universal health coverage (UHC) and a draft global strategy was published in February 2015. 

The WHO then kicked off an extensive consultation process on the draft version in March 2015 with inputs from Member States, civil society and health care professional associations, WHO regional committees, technical consultations, briefing sessions and online forums. The Feedback and guidance from the consultation process are reflected in the draft Global Strategy, which was also aligned with, and informed by the draft framework on integrated people- centred health services.