The challenges for Africa

IAPB Africa Chair

The IAPB Africa Team (left to right): Mr Ronnie Graham, Dr Joseph Oye, Dr Aaron Magava, Prof Kovin Naidoo, Miss Neebha Budhoo, Mr Senanu Quacoe and Mr Simon Day

The IAPB Africa Team (left to right): Mr Ronnie Graham, Dr Joseph Oye, Dr Aaron Magava, Prof Kovin Naidoo, Miss Neebha Budhoo, Mr Senanu Quacoe, Mr Simon Day

Back in 1999, VISION 2020 was formulated to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The plan sought to bring together all stakeholders to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programmes. The WHO Global Action Plan, 2014-2019 further supports these efforts, placing a new emphasis on using the health system approach and the integration of eye care programs into the wider health care system at all levels.

African Governments, concerned by Africa’s increasing disease burden, have now developed the African Health Strategy 2016 – 2030 through the African Union to ensure healthy lives and to promote the well-being for all in Africa in the context of “Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want”.

In IAPB Africa, our vision is “for all people in the region to have access to the highest possible standard of eye health”. However, we realize that we cannot do everything, everywhere at once and that we can achieve very little on our own, hence the famous concept on “how to eat an elephant”: The challenge for us now, as IAPB Africa, is to position ourselves in such a way that we fully integrate the eye health agenda into mainstream health strategies for the greater good of the communities we serve. At this point, it is imperative to re-emphasize the importance of working together as a cohesive group to achieve our goals. A good team in the region is of utmost importance. This calls for ‘round table’ meetings where organizations can air their views and concerns, based on their individual objectives, which have to be taken into consideration at every step of the planning and implementation phases.

We have to commend the IAPB Africa secretariat, who work tirelessly to get things done the right way and always on time. Without them we would not be where we are. And of course Kovin and our Co-Chairs have made a massive input over the last 8 years. Already, our efforts are bearing fruit: the competencies of eye health cadres are already with WHO-Afro for validation; our advocacy is generating success at national and regional levels and we have seen our member agencies stepping up their investments in the training institutions. But, as one great statesman said, “success isn’t final and failure isn’t fatal, it is the courage to continue which counts”. 

Read the full IAPB Africa Newsletter Vol 5, No 4,