Given that China accounts for 20% of the world’s blind people it was particularly appropriate that Dr Alarcos Cieza, WHO Coordinator, Blindness and Deafness Prevention, Disability and Rehabilitation was on hand to introduce the report. The report shows blindness especially impacts on ethnic minorities, older people, women and low and middle income families – all of which have been priority areas for China’s recently completed 13th Five Year Plan.
The World Report on Vision highlights the multi-faceted approach necessary for tackling global vision impairment. Amanda Davis, IAPB Regional Chair Western Pacific, outlined this approach in her presentation and also touched on the successes achieved in China during the Vision 2020 period of the past two decades. For example China successfully eliminated trachoma as a public health problem and, in recent years, significantly lifted the profile of Myopia. And as we initiate progress towards 2030, it worth noting that the Chinese Government was one of the very first to sign onto Vision 2020 back in 1999 – a legacy worth celebrating on this launch day!