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Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting Sparks Renewed Momentum for Eye Health

Published: 27.05.2024
Simon Darvill Director of Communications, Campaigns & Events
Drew Keys Head of Western Pacific Region

The recent Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting was truly an inspiring moment for the Vision for the Commonwealth coalition, demonstrating ongoing commitment to eye health from across the Commonwealth. Building on the pledges made in London in 2018 and Rwanda in 2022, Ministers discussed their dedication to achieving quality eye care for all.

As we approach the halfway mark to our 2030 goal of eliminating avoidable blindness, the meeting reinforced the urgent need to accelerate action. The words of Ministers from Samoa and Guyana were particularly moving, as they pledged to champion eye health in their home countries, echoing the sentiment that the Commonwealth can and should lead the world on this critical issue.

We were honored to have Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, and Secretary-General Scotland of the Commonwealth sign our call for accelerated action on global eye health. Their support amplifies our message and underscores the importance of global collaboration in tackling this critical issue.

In our Breakfast side meeting speakers highlighted the important connection between eye health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with inspiring messages from Saia Piukala, Brandon Ah Tong, and Carole Poloso. Their insights emphasized the need for integrated approaches to healthcare that address both eye health and NCDs.

The entire Vision for the Commonwealth coalition, made up of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), Sightsavers, The Fred Hollows Foundation, International Coalition for Trachoma Control, and Peek Vision, stands ready to support Commonwealth countries in this vital work. Through collaboration, innovation, and unwavering determination, we believe we can transform the lives of millions and truly make quality eye care a reality for all.

The road ahead may be challenging, but the momentum is undeniable. The Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting has energized the global eye health community, and we look forward to working together to accelerate progress, especially at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Samoa and create a world where everyone has access to affordable, available and accessible eye health.