IAPB’s VISION 2020 workshop programme, originally initiated, and now managed by the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH), has been running since 1999. Since then the programme has expanded both in terms of quantity and the number of workshops delivered globally but also in terms of topic to reflect emerging needs of national governments as they implement their national eye care plans. All workshops are identified locally by the IAPB regional teams in partnership with the National Eye Care Coordinators (NECs), MoH, WHO, INGOs and other key stakeholders.
Since 2014 the workshops have been a key component of IAPB’s regional strategies to implement the WHO Global Action Plan with the focus being on how to support Ministries of Health to operationalise the plan and align it with their own eye health care plans. This has given the programme a clear direction and new impetus.
When the GAP was first launched the workshop programme focused on supporting regional workshops to bring the GAP to each region, these were advocacy and awareness raising workshops to get the GAP ball rolling.
In Europe IAPB’s priorities are DR and ROP. With support from Eye Samaritans International there is a growing ROP programme which suports Ministries of Health to strengthen their national ROP programme through workshops targeted at teams managing pre term infant care. Only by having the nurses, neonatologists and ophthalmologists working together will there be effective prevention, sreening and treatment of ROP.
In Africa the workshop priorities are integral to the IAPB Africa strategy for Human Resources for Eye Health (HReH) with a clear step by step approach to build up capacity to advocate with Ministries to include eye health in the National Human Resource Strategy. To date advocacy advisors have been trained up in 5 countries and are now working with IAPB members to develop a national advocacy strategy to reach this goal.
In South East Asia the focus has been on national level workshops to take the GAP and look at how best to action it at country level. This is done by determining country priorities under each objective and then reviewing current eye care plans in light of these priorities. It is hoped that by the end of 2015 all countries would have held a GAP national workshop.
In Eastern Mediterranean workshops tend to be regional for all countries NECs and focus on a specific topic. Most recently Health Information Managemeent Systems and Child Eye Health in 2014. These workshops also provide an opportunity to review progress of each country towards finalising their national eye health plans.
In Latin America the target has been to raise awareness amongst residents on public health approaches to eye care through running courses for residents. The courses/workshops offer CPD points and the ultimate aim is to have the course integrated into the national curriculum. Other workshops focus on planning and the use of RAAB data for eye health planning.