Advocating for eye health – An update from IAPB Latin America

Regional Program Manager – Latin America
Organisation: IAPB
Update from Latin America; Image: Children enjoying the school with their eye glasses by Edgardo Contreras for the #StrongerTogether photo competition

Children enjoying the school with their eye glasses by Edgardo Contreras for the #StrongerTogether photo competition

IAPB Latin America shares strong partnerships with the stakeholders across the Spanish and Portuguese speaking Americas. Under the umbrella of VISION 2020, key strides towards prevention of blindness have been made in the region. The key activities include but are not limited to, the successful completion of RAABs in all of IAPB’s LA region, strong World Sight Day activities, etc.

2017 kicked off with a resilient reinforcement of this commitment.

Bolivia continues to need support and our partners in the region have answered the call. In April, a key advocacy meeting was called in coordination with the national eye health committee comprised of Ministry of Health, INGOs, public and private associations, and others to push forward the approval of the National Eye Health Plan. With recent drastic changes to our key champions in the Ministry of Health, it was important to reinforce the approval of this document to operationalize the key activities towards our prevention of blindness indicators for Bolivia. We are confident that it will be approved soon and certainly the fruits of VISION2020 Latin America will soon begin to sprout.

Another important event held in May 2017 was a key advocacy biannual event by the Pan-American Health Organization for the Ministries of Health as well as NGO’s across the Americas and the Caribbean. In attendance were 21 countries, with all reporting their progress towards their prevention of blindness goals.  At this meeting important key objectives were reported and the groundwork for IAPB’s work in the region moving forward was set.

With support from partners like Orbis, PAHO, and the PAAO, perhaps our strong advocacy event of 2017 will take place at the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology Congress in Lima. The focus will center around the call for better distribution of HR in each country. We are proud to report that 32 separate institutional leaders across 13 countries have confirmed their attendance. We expect to draft a plan of action to remedy this problem for results in the coming years.