By B V Tejah

The report, put together with inputs from many eye health experts, will be launched in events around the world.

World Sight Day banner by IAPB

World Sight Day (WSD)  (10/10/2013) – an international day of awareness about avoidable blindness and its prevention – will mark the launch of a report on Universal Eye Health.

4 out of 5 visually impaired people are avoidably so. Research shows that every dollar spent on eye health has a two-fold return on investment – in developing countries, home to 90% of all visual impairment, there is a four-fold return. Yet current estimates put the number of people living with significant visual impairment at 285 million, 39 million of whom are blind.

International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and its members and partners recognise that governments are key to ensuring access to quality eye health services and eliminating avoidable blindness.

2013 is an important year, as it marks the launch of a new WHO Action Plan on the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment 2014-19. 

The WSD report sets out what universal eye health should mean in practice, taking into account key components of the Global Action Plan, and gives an overview of the situation of eye health globally and regionally, with examples of countries striving towards universal eye health.

The theme for World Sight Day 2013 is: “Universal Eye Health”

The “Call to Action” based on this year’s theme is: “Get your Eyes Tested”

Discussing the report, Zoe Gray, Advocacy Manager, IAPB and one of authors said, “This World Sight Day report stresses that all people, including the marginalised, should be able to access quality eye health services without suffering financial hardship. It offers decision-makers and policy-makers guidance on means to progress”. Copies of the report can be downloaded here.

On World Sight Day, the WSD report on Universal Eye Health will be launched at events in Manila, Philippines; Thimpu, Bhutan; Kigali, Rwanda; Washington DC, USA; Dominican Republic and in scores of national and regional events around the world. In these events, representatives from the relevant Ministry of Health will be asked to unveil the report and copies will be passed on to other stakeholders.

beautiful eyes

“Universal Eye Health embodies many critical aspects of successful eye health uptake. World Sight Day is a powerful platform to showcase best practices and to also support blindness prevention activities globally. We welcome all stakeholders – NGOs, Corporations, hospitals and training institutes – to mark World Sight Day,” said Joanna Conlon, IAPB.

Every year, World Sight Day is celebrated in over 300 events in 60 countries around the world. Representing over 120 organisations, including every major eye health organisation and global eye health professional associations, IAPB supports World Sight Day activities across the globe by sending promotional material like posters, bookmarks, reports and advocacy material free of cost. This year too, WSD promotional material has been sent to over 500 addresses, including ministries of health, WHO country offices, numerous organisations who work with local communities and NGOs working across geographies to mark World Sight Day. For more information, please visit www.iapb.org

(B V Tejah is the Communications Manager, IAPB. You can reach him at tejahb@iapb.org; +91 99496 97771)

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