From the WCO Public Health Committee Chair, Dr. Sandra Block:
The World Council of Optometry is excited to share the below press release, which states that at the 74th World Health Assembly (WHA), the Ministers of Health voted and approved the proposal designed to address the two leading causes of blindness and visual impairment. Specifically, they adopted targets to increase effective coverage of refractive error by 40% and effective coverage for cataract surgery by 30% by the year 2030. The adoption of this proposal addresses the enormous unmet need for eye care outlined in the World Report on Vision which was authored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and adopted by the WHA last year.
Accepting these targets is a major step in ensuring that the country members are focusing their attention on the enormous magnitude of preventable vision impairment and blindness. It was exciting to see how many member countries stood up to voice their support for the proposed eye care targets.
As a member of IAPB, WCO supports Peter Holland’s (Chief Executive IAPB) comments and I quote “the targets are ambitious but achievable with national commitment and strong collective action. What is critical now is for countries to implement the World Report on Vision and report their progress to the WHO.”
All of us at WCO are looking forward to being a part of the push to encourage our own countries to be engaged in the adoption this resolution and move towards improving the effective coverage of both refractive errors and cataract surgery and highlighting the shift of ensuring that the services are focused on integrating patient-centered eye care into Universal Health Coverage as the countries develop their health system.
I personally see this as a major step forward in reducing the magnitude of blindness and visual impairment worldwide and I look forward to optometry being a part of the solution.
Sandra S. Block, OD, M ED, MPH, FAAO, FCOVD, FNAP
Chair, Public Health Committee, World Council of Optometry
WHO Global Eye Health Targets Press Release _ IAPB