Towards a new quadrennium

Bob McMullan

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.


Bob McMullan
President, IAPB


Planning    Knowledge    Human Resources    Financing    Advocacy    Elimination


First RAAB in the Maldives

hl_0009_feb_1_maldivesThe Ministry of Health, with IAPB support, carries out its first population-based blindness survey. Data was collected by smartphone through the PEEK App (summary report).

A Strategy for the Western Pacific

feb_2_westpacIAPB develops a new regional strategy for the Western Pacific to guide work up until 2020, following consultation with members active in the region.

Child Eye Health in Nigeria

sibwhitebgSituational analysis of children’s eye health needs and services in Nigeria is released as part of Seeing is Believing funded research to learn lessons from past projects and inform future approaches in East Africa. Seeing is Believing is the flagship collaboration between Standard Chartered Bank and IAPB.

Bringing African Ophthalmology Colleges Together

hl_0004_mar_4_ophthcollegesIAPB Africa and the African Ophthalmology Council (AOC) bring together 7 African Colleges of Ophthalmology across 3 languages to take first steps towards harmonising curricula and developing a strategy for sub-specialties training in the continent.

Supporting Innovation

Using app on mobile for eye testSeeing is Believing launches the second phase of its Innovation Fund, which supports inception and scale-up of pioneering ideas with the potential to significantly impact how eye care is delivered in low and middle income countries.

Universal Eye Health in China

hl_0011_apr_6_chinaThe IAPB China Committee meets in Guangzhou to review the first draft of China’s new 5-year national plan for Universal Eye Health.

Ageing and Sight

hl_0003_may_7_ageingWorld Health Assembly adopts a ‘Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health’, which includes contributions from IAPB about the importance of preserving and restoring people’s ‘intrinsic capacities’ such as sight and hearing.

Human Resources for Health


IAPB’s advocacy interventions over many months bear fruit as the World Health Assembly adopts ‘Workforce 2030 – Global Strategy on Human Resources for Health’, which includes specific references to eye health workers and eye care conditions.

Promoting Assistive Technologies

hl_0002_may_9_assistivetechThe WHO’s Priority Assistive List is launched at the World Health Assembly with the aim to become a catalyst in promoting access to assistive technology for persons with disabilities.

Optometry Training in Africa

hl_0006_jun_10_optometryFollowing the release of a Situation Analysis of Optometry in Africa, IAPB Africa and the African Council of Optometry (AFCO) host 17 countries, 19 training institutions, 14 professional societies and 4 INGOs in South Africa to plan expansion of optometry training across Sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years

Eye Health Financing

hl_0005_jun_11_financingSummary findings from health financing assessments conducted in Lao PDR, Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam are released. The assessments were conducted in partnership with the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office, the Fred Hollows Foundation and Brien Holden Vision Institute.

RAAB in Timor-Leste

hl_0008_jul_12_raabtimorIAPB South East Asia, in collaboration with the Timor-Leste Ministry of Health and funding from the Lions Clubs International Foundation, initiates a blindness survey, following the first ever assessment conducted in 2005, using the latest Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness methodology and smartphone software (mRAAB).

Sub-Specialty Training in Africa

IAPB Africa presents at the Medical Education Programme Initiative (MEPI) Symposium in Nairobi, identifying new opportunities for strategic partnerships, including one with the College of Ophthalmology of Eastern Central and Southern Africa (COECSA) and the Global Educational Exchange in Medicine (GEMx) for sub-specialty exchange visits for ophthalmology students across the COECSA sub-region.

Mapping Trachoma

hl_0007_jul_14_trachomaTrachoma Coalition launches landmark ‘Eliminating Trachoma: Accelerating Towards 2020’ report, including new data from the Global Trachoma Mapping Project, the largest ever survey of an infectious disease undertaken.

Union for Vision

loccitaneL’OCCITANE Foundation, with technical support from IAPB, launches call for projects to be funded through its UNION FOR VISION – 10by20 programme, which aims to reach 10 million beneficiaries by 2020.

Seeing is Believing

sibwhitebgSeeing is Believing announces US$ 1 million funding for new eye care projects in Kenya and China.

CEHJ in Spanish

spanishcehjIAPB Latin America publishes 2016 issue of La Revista de Salud Ocular Comunitaria, Spanish version of the Community Eye Health Journal, with practical information and articles tailored for eye care professionals in Latin America.

Guatemala Eliminates Onchocerciasis

Smiling children in blue sweatersGuatemala becomes the fourth country in the world (after Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico) to eliminate river blindness (Onchocerciasis).

CEHJ Chinese Edition 2016 Issue 1

china_cehj_2The IAPB China Secretariat publishes Chinese edition of the Community Eye Health Journal focusing on diabetes and its implications for eye health.

10th General Assembly

1150 eye care professionals from 100 countries gather in Durban for the IAPB 10th General Assembly (10GA). President Sirleaf of Liberia opens the proceedings followed by a programme of over 60 sessions, 200 speakers and 250 poster presentations over 3 days.

Vision Atlas

visionatlasThe IAPB Vision Atlas is launched at the 10GA Opening Ceremony. Bringing together the latest data and evidence related to avoidable blindness and sight loss, the Vision Atlas site aims to tell the story behind the numbers.

IAPB Awards

awardsThe late Prof. Brien Holden, the International Eye Foundation and the Global Alliance for the Elimination of Trachoma are among those celebrated at the IAPB Awards ceremony in Durban.

Universal Eye Health and NTDs

Johannes Trimmel at 10GAThe governments of Liberia, Zambia, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone are the first countries to sign up to the “Commitment to promote Universal Eye Health and eliminate blinding NTDs”, launched at the IAPB 10th General Assembly in Durban.

Standard List

slThe IAPB Standard List gets a makeover. Aimed at eye care professionals looking for high quality eye care equipment at the right price, the revamped site now offers recommended lists of products and ‘best buys’, alongside a users’ forum.

World Sight Day

WSD logoOver 1200 professional and amateur photos are uploaded for the IAPB World Sight Day #StrongerTogether Photo Competition. All images are now freely available for members to use in their communications.

DR Barometer Project

drbarometerResults from the DR Barometer Project, a joint investigation of nearly 7,000 adults with diabetes and health care professionals from 41 countries carried out by IAPB, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), with support from Bayer are unveiled on World Diabetes Day. It highlights the unnecessary risk of vision loss faced by people with diabetes

Universal Eye Health in China

chinese NHFPC workshopChina’s National Health and Family Planning Commission, assisted by IAPB, facilitates sharing of good practices among eye care NGOs operating in China at a training workshop to implement National Eye Health Plan 2016-2020.

New Partnership for Eye Health in Africa

nov_27_africaIAPB Africa is invited by the East, Central and Southern African Health Community (ECSA-HC) to work together on the establishment of an Eye Health Expert’s Committee with a view to presenting the case to 9 Ministers of Health at the ECSA-HC’s annual conference towards the end of 2017.

Morocco Eliminates Trachoma

trachomaWHO announces the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem in Morocco.

CSC and the Global Health Observatory

iolWHO’s Global Health Observatory to include new Cataract Surgical Coverage (CSC) data in the new year, thanks to IAPB’s collation and advocacy efforts.

CEHJ Chinese Edition 2016 Issue 2

china_cehj_2The second Chinese edition of the Community Eye Health Journal is published, focusing on Eye Injuries.


Click on the images below for some of the stories of collaboration and partnerships from 2016

IAPB VISION 2020 Workshops

map_0003_Layer-1-copy EVIDENCE & HMIS map_0002_Layer-1-copy-2 GAP ADVOCACY & PLANNING map_0001_Layer-1-copy-3 SKILLS & CAPACITY BUILDING

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