The second South-East Asia regional Advocacy to Action session was held on 15 Sep 2023. The session was attended by a small interactive group of eye health leaders from the region, chaired by the IAPB Southeast Asia regional chair, Dr Rohit Khanna. Providing the region’s eye health update, Dr Khanna stated the region’s priorities as national endorsement and country implementation of 2030 In Sight, implementation of IPEC at national eye health policy level and plans, generating baseline data for the two eye health targets for 2030 and advocating for reporting eye health in the Voluntary National Reviews.
Taraprasad Das, Former IAPB Chair, SEA presented a roadmap for regional advocacy. He pointed out that the WHO’s Southeast Asia’s action plan for Implementation of Integrated People centred eye care serves as the guiding document for advocacy in the region. The action plan includes 4 targets for the region for 2030, in addition to the two global targets- screening Diabetic Retinopathy and treating the cases, and Trachoma elimination from the region. The major call to action were the regional targets, IPEC and HR development.
The session shared the country updates from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia & Maldives. Dr Champa Bangala, IAPB country chair for Sri Lanka mentioned that ECSAT has been started and the result is expected by November 2023. The Sri Lankan MoH representative who attended the session added school vision screening have been prioritised along with preschool screening in some regions of the country. Dr Enayet Hussain, from Bangladesh shared the story how the sector has been advocating for inclusion of eye health in sectors beyond health, considering WHO’s Social Determinants of Health report and the UN’s principle on leaving no one behind.
Yeni Lestari, Indonesia mentioned that the IAPB regional meeting and the WHO SEARO high level meeting earlier this year along with the launch of the Regional Action Plan for Implementation of IPEC was helpful in convincing the government. Indonesia has started conducting the ECSAT, the first phase of IPEC implementation and is revising the national blindness strategy. Abdulla Junaid, Maldives shared the challenge of mainstreaming health information and its use in decision making. To overcome this, the country is piloting integrating the eye health information into the national health information in few islands, in coordination with Ministry of Health.
To have more detailed country updates, please visit IAPB’s Advocacy to Action Regional Update sessions page. The recordings will be available soon.
Junu Shrestha, Policy & Advocacy Manager at IAPB presented on Advocacy for eye health: A beginners guide in the session. IAPB launched this guide recently especially aiming to beginners in advocacy. The guide is available to download here.