How Does it Work

How Does VISION 2020 Work?

VISION 2020 Structure and Activities

VISION 2020 is the global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, launched in 1999, jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) with an international membership of NGOs, professional associations, eye care institutions and corporations.

Over two decades, it is hoped that VISION 2020 will prevent 100 million people from becoming blind.

VISION 2020, through WHO, IAPB and its member organisations, provides technical support and advocacy to prevention of blindness activities worldwide. At the national level, a strong partnership between Ministry of Health, national and international NGOs, professional organisations, and civil society groups – brought together in a national prevention of blindness or VISION 2020 committee – should facilitate the development and implementation of effective and sustainable national eye care plans.

VISION 2020 seeks to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness in the world.

The goal is to eliminate avoidable blindness. In the long term, the initiative seeks to ensure the best possible vision for all people, thereby improving their quality of life. This goal should be achieved through the establishment of a sustainable, comprehensive eye care system as an integral part of every national health system.

The strategy of VISION 2020 is built upon a foundation of community participation, with three essential components or elements:

  • cost-effective disease control interventions;
  • human resource development (training and motivation); and
  • infrastructure development (facilities, appropriate technology, consumables, funds)

The guiding principles are summarized in the acronym ISEE:

  • Integrated into existing health care systems
  • Sustainable in terms of money and other resources
  • Equitable care and services available to all, not just the wealthy
  • Excellence – a high standard of care throughout

The VISION 2020 objectives are to:

  • increase awareness – among key audiences – of the causes of avoidable blindness and the solutions that could help eliminate the problem;
  • identify and secure the necessary resources around the world in order to provide an increased level of activity in prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programmes; and
  • facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of the three elements of the VISION 2020 strategic plan by national programmes

The VISION 2020 Structure

VISION 2020 structure

Source: World Health Organization, Prevention of Blindness Programme (WHO/PBD), 2005.

Fifty-sixth World Health Assembly resolution WHA56.26, elimination of avoidable blindness

Global political commitment to VISION 2020 was reaffirmed in 2003 by the adoption of this resolution that urged each Member State to:

  • support the Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness by setting up, not later than 2005, a national VISION 2020 plan, in partnership with WHO and in collaboration with nongovernmental organizations and the private sector;
  • commence implementation of such plans by 2007 at the latest; and
  • include in such plans effective information systems with standardized indicators and periodic monitoring and evaluation, with the aim of showing a reduction in the magnitude of avoidable blindness by 2010.

The resolution also requested the Director-General of WHO to:

  • maintain and strengthen WHO’s collaboration with Member States and the partners of the Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness; and
  • ensure coordination of the implementation of the Global Initiative, in particular by setting up a monitoring committee grouping all those involved.
Fifty-sixth World Health Assembly resolution WHA56.26, elimination of avoidable blindness
URGES Member States:

(1) to reinforce efforts to set up national Vision 2020 plans as called for in resolution
(2) to provide support for Vision 2020 plans by mobilizing domestic funding;
(3) to include prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment in national
development plans and goals;
(4) to advance the integration of prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment in primary health care and in existing health plans and programmes at regional and national levels;
(5) to encourage partnerships between the public sector, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, civil society and communities in programmes and activities for prevention of blindness at all levels;
(6) to develop and strengthen eye-care services and integrate them in the existing health-care system at all levels, including the training and re-training of health workers in visual health;
(7) to promote and provide improved access to health services both with regard to prevention as well as treatment for ocular conditions;
(8) to encourage integration, cooperation and solidarity between countries in the areas of prevention and care for blindness and visual impairment;
(9) to make available within health systems essential medicines and medical supplies needed for eye care;REQUESTS the Director-General:

2. REQUESTS the Director-General

(1) to give priority to prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment, and to
provide necessary technical support to Member States;
(2) to provide support to collaboration among countries for prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment in particular in the area of training of all categories of relevant staff;
(3) to monitor progress in the Global Initiative for the Elimination of Avoidable Blindness in collaboration with international partners, and to report to the Executive Board every three years;
(4) to ensure that prevention of blindness and visual impairment are included in the
implementation and monitoring of WHO’s Eleventh General Programme of Work, and to strengthen global, regional and national activities for prevention of blindness;
(5) to add prevention of blindness and visual impairment to WHO’s medium-term strategic plan 2008-2013 and proposed programme budget 2008-2009 which are currently in preparation;
(6) to strengthen cooperation through regional, subregional and international efforts with the view to achieving the goals set out in this resolution.
(Ninth plenary meeting, 27 May 2006 – Committee A, sixth report)

Also Read: WHO Global Action Plan 2014-19