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2021 in Review: IAPB Western Pacific highlights

Published: 23.11.2021
Drew Keys IAPB Western Pacific Regional Manager
Together we're stronger

At the end of 2020, we wrote to you about the year’s three highlights and commended the resilience and adaptability of the sector. If only we’d known how important those two words were going to continue to be throughout 2022! Today, there appears to be glimmers of light at the end of the Covid tunnel –  we are even planning for 2030 In Sight Live to take place in Dubai next March. If there is a fourth highlight for 2021 it is this: that we can finally plan to meet face-to-face once more! 2021 has taught us that resilience and adaptability are going to continue to be essential tools in delivering our mission. But as we reflect on this, lets also consider words like backlog, planning and re-building – for as we emerge from the pandemic, the effects on our health systems will linger well beyond 2022. We will need to work harder and smarter to deliver our programmes, to meet the needs of those who are most at risk and to advocate so that eye health is not forgotten beneath the reality of Covid.

With that in mind, I’m going turn your attention to our first Western Pacific highlight for 2021: the unveiling of 2030 In Sight, our new global strategy. The Western Pacific Region has been particularly receptive to 2030 In Sight, with presentations and workshops taking place in New Zealand, Cambodia, Australia, Vietnam and Korea – by year’s end more will follow in China and the Philippines, with others planned in the Pacific Islands in early 2022. It has been gratifying to see 2030 In Sight embraced by all levels of our sector – from CEOs right through to grass-roots campaigners. In the two upcoming events we can already strategy in action: integration in China as the National Committee merges 2030 In Sight with provincial planning and activation in the Philippines where the introduction of 2030 In Sight is open to students via CPD presentation.

WSD CambodiaWorld Sight Day – always a highlight but none more so than this year. Let’s begin at the beginning with the Eye Health Aotearoa kicking-off global events at Bluff Point on New Zealand’s South Island. WHO PNG, Sight For All in Adelaide, the members of Vision 2020 Australia, Hillrom and Yonsei University and the Korean Eye Care Working Group, Fred Hollows Foundation and the National Committee in China, the Vietnam Eye Care Working Group, the Cambodian Sub-sectoral Working Group, SERI in Singapore. To name a few. All working in concert to Love Your Eyes. And all in the middle of a pandemic (a special mention to Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Centre with a pledge of 400,000 eye tests the largest in the region).

Finally, you – our members – are a highlight. Not just the organisations but the people who inhabit them. Who tirelessly work a ‘day-job’ but still support the work of IAPB on the ground, through the Gender Equity Working Group, the Climate Action Working Group, the DR Working Group; who attended the symposiums and webinars, the awesome live Focus on Glaucoma and the fascinating roundtable on Global DR targets. In the Western Pacific ‘office’ we couldn’t do our work without you. We’re always grateful – especially so to the Fred Hollows Foundation who host us in the region.

Thank you. We look forward to seeing you in 2022.

Image on top: Together we’re stronger/Anh Lee