To reach the 1.1 billion people still in need of access to eye care services, the WHO members states have been taking the Integrated People Centred Eye Care approach. The WHO SEA regional committee has also endorsed IPEC and developed the SEA Regional Action Plan on IPEC 2030 In Sight. But change needs to happen at the national and sub national eye health policy level.
IAPB along with the the Ministry of Health Royal Government of Bhutan recently came together to just to do that in Bhutan endorsing IPEC, to operationalize it in their National eye health plan.
The Honorable Health Minister of Bhutan Dasho Dr Dechen Wangmo graced a two-day workshop on the National Endorsement of Integrated People-centred Eye Care 2030 In Sight, in Paro on 22 – 23 July.
The workshop gathered experts, healthcare professionals and partners – IAPB and its members and former WHO consultant Dr Patanjali Dev Nayar.
The Honourable Health Minister, Dasho Dechen Wangmo, in her Keynote address, highlighted the need to address the unmet needs of people in the hard-to-reach communities. Acting WHO Representative to Bhutan, Dr Bharat B Rewari in his remarks commended the remarkable eye care coverage of 99.7% “under the patronage of Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kesang Choeden Wangchuck in Bhutan.” He reiterated WHO’s commitment to support the Ministry of Health in its efforts to end avoidable blindness in Bhutan and beyond.
IAPB-SEA regional chair and Director of LV Prasad Eye Institute, Dr Rohit Khanna presented LVPEI eye health model to adopt IPEC. Dr Andreas Mueller, WHO consultant presented on WHO-IPEC tools and Dr Tashi Tobgay, WHO SEARO advisor on NCD presented the summary of SEA regional plan as a guide to develop a national eye health plan on IPEC.
Dr Dechen Wangmo, the HOD of National Referral Eye Hospital, IAPB Country Chair, Bhutan presented the baseline data of eCSC Bhutan and targets to 2030 and Mr Indra Sharma, Senior Clinical Optometrist presented on the base-line data on eREC with the target of 2030.
The workshop consolidated the evidence on eye health, with consultation and inputs from the attending experts to develop an integrated people-centred strategic plan for Bhutan. The two days’ workshop concluded with several recommendations to include in the national eye health plan 2023 – 2030.
The meeting was supported by IAPB members the Himalayan Cataract Project, SighLife and Mission for Vision.