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2022 in Review: Western Pacific – Year of Re-Connection

Published: 06.12.2022
Drew Keys Western Pacific Regional Manager
Young girl in Laos/Lia Marmelstein

2022 has been the year of re-connection. In the Western Pacific we’ve loved seeing so many of you again after the long covid-pause and been inspired by the re-invigoration of eye care activities across the region. It’s been terrific to see the region embrace the new sector strategy as we emerge – finally – into the new decade.

Throughout the year 2030 In Sight embed activities have taken place with a focus on ensuring that the fundamental links between the strategy, the World Report on Vision, the World Health Assembly and United Nations General Assembly resolutions are well-understood. The Policy Dialogue process is central to systems change in the sector and work has been undertaken to ensure that these are seen as part of ongoing processes. 2030 In Sight Policy Dialogues, delivered in cooperation with members, have taken place in:

  • Cambodia – including a 2030 In Sight Launch by the Health Minister.
  • New Zealand – where an ECSAT report was delivered to the Parliament
  • Papua New Guinea – including a system’s change workshop
  • China – with an Activate focus to build on 2021’s strategy launch

We have continued raising awareness with regional members, stakeholders and governments by undertaking 2030 In Sight presentations and workshops:

  • Philippines – a focus on Integrated People Centred eye care with provincial governments
  • Korea – working with Korean Eye Care Working Group members towards an innovation focused policy dialogue in Feb 2023
  • First Nations Interest Group – we continue to incubate this example of Elevate, by linking eye health and the SDGs

The relationship with WHO WPRO has continued to strengthen with a joint IAPB/WHO regional meeting held in Singapore at the beginning of November. This meeting focused on the role that IAPB members play supporting National Governments by delivering the 2030 In Sight strategy and by expanding the eye health conversation and highlighted the WHO suite of tools for IPEC Implementation. Additionally, IAPB and WHO have partnered on the activities in Cambodia and New Zealand and developed joint proposals in Papua New Guinea. IAPB advocacy has resulted in the first WHO eye health and Non-Communicable Diseases assessment in the Marshall Islands to be undertaken in December.

Finally, the year culminated in World Sight Day. Over 1.5 million sight tests were pledged from the Western Pacific region, demonstrating the engagement of members and stakeholders in the region. Eye Health Aotearoa led with Parliamentary tests in New Zealand, Vision 2020 Australia at the NSW Parliament and in Malaysia the Director General of Health pledged 216,000 tests – the only pledge from a Ministry worldwide. In China, Shanghai Eye Disease Prevention and Treatment Centre pledged a world-leading 865,000 tests. All-in-all an inspiring result from the Western Pacific Region!

Thank you all for your hard work in 2022. Everyone, working stronger-together, will achieve so much in the coming decade. We look forward to seeing you again in 2023.  We remain especially grateful for the continued support of our regional sponsors at the Fred Hollows Foundation (with whom, amongst other things) we developed the Introduction to IPEC online course which so many of you undertook this year) and at Yonsei University and LabSD.

Image on top: Young girl in Laos/Lia Marmelstein