Towards a new quadrennium
It was a wonderful feeling to see all of you at the 10th General Assembly in Durban a couple of months ago. Many months of preparation and hard work culminated in a very productive week for all of us. The IAPB Vision Atlas is now a reality and it offers the best compilation of vision loss data—both prevalence and policy data—we have today. Telling the stories behind the numbers, the Atlas is a powerful advocacy resource for all to use and I encourage you to explore its many features. With your input it can only get better, and I look forward to its next iteration later this year.
Once again, activities on World Sight Day grew in reach and breadth – numerous organisations used the day to launch awareness campaigns and over a thousand submissions were received in our photo competition, a wealth of powerful images for all members to use. I can confidently say that World Sight Day has now truly come to represent a catalyst for the whole prevention of blindness movement to come together.
With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework now well established, 2016 also saw our advocacy efforts converging towards well defined targets. Following on the successful inclusion of a specific indicator on Neglected Tropical Diseases, we have now built a powerful case for Cataract Surgical Coverage to be seriously considered as a key indicator to monitor Universal Health Coverage. It is a tangible and ambitious goal providing real focus to our advocacy in the crowded arena of competing priorities created by the SDGs.
The new year will see us embarking on our next strategic planning phase, taking us through to 2020, and getting ready for some key milestones: a mid-term progress report to the World Health Assembly on the Global Action Plan, and the publication of the latest prevalence data from the Vision Loss Expert Group, among others. Indeed, we should have many things to celebrate this World Sight Day.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a new year. Please browse through our 2016 highlights below.