IAPB Africa: Making progress in the first half of 2019

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

People at the IAPB Africa Planning Meeting

The first six-months of 2019 has brought with it various positive developments in the region The first being the publications of the Core Competencies that we have really worked hard for.

WHO Afro released the Core competencies for the Eye Health Workforce in the WHO African region in February.  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. 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

IAPB Africa planning meeting

The 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

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.

SiB Project: A Low Vision theory and practice course

In partnership with Seeing is Believing, IAPB and the Brien Holden Vision Institute (BHVI) has engaged in a project to strengthen the profession of Ophthalmic Nursing and establish Low Vision as a sub-specialty of optometry in sun Saharan Africa.

A Low Vision theory and practice course was conducted at BHVI in Durban by 3 leading low vision visiting faculty from Ireland, Australia and Pakistan. The course provided the fundamental knowledge of causes of low vision, clinical presentation, investigation and management to 4 candidates from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.  The candidates reported that the course provided them confidence in managing low vision and altered th ways in which they were managing low vision.

Upon completion of the course, these same candidates went on to undertake clinical sessions at the prestigious LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in Hyderabad India. The supervised practice provides them with guided clinical learning opportunities.  The rigorous programme at LVPEI has been challenging to candidates, but they are keeping abreast of the programme and progressing well in their clinical work.

Looking ahead to the period July – December 2019

  • The IAPB Co-Chairs for Anglophone and Francophone West Africa will attend the West Africa Regional Eye Health Partners Meeting in Accra (July)
  • The IAPB Africa Programme Coordinator will give the keynote speech at the Nigeria Optometric Association Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting in Calabar on the theme: Achieving Universal Access to Eye Health – The Way Forward (July)
  • The IAPB Africa Programme Coordinator has been invited to present on the Vision Atlas in the Francophone Symposium (August)
  • IAPB Council of Members takes place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (October)
  • Undertake a policy review in selected countries to develop an understanding of policy across various government departments e.g. health, education and social development. The review would determine where eye health features within policy and where there is potential for it to feature to in order to implement Universal Eye Health Care.
  • Advocacy development with the West African Health Organisation
  • Publication of the Core competencies for the Eye Health Workforce in the WHO African region in French and Portuguese
  • Launch of the World Report on Vision in countries

I hope to see many of you at the Council of Members in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.