Australia and Indonesia have spearheaded a new resolution that sets the global eye health agenda for the next decade, in an effort to reach the one billion people worldwide who do not have access to vital eyecare services.
The 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) adopted the resolution for ‘Integrated people-centred eye care, including preventable blindness and impaired vision’ which was co-sponsored by 47 countries.
The resolution, adopted at an abridged virtual sitting, commits member states to implement the recommendations of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first World report on vision released in October last year.
Announced on 7 August, Federal Health Minister Mr Greg Hunt welcomed the resolution as an important step in ensuring eye health is integrated in health systems as part of universal health coverage worldwide.
“[It] sends a strong signal of worldwide interest in progressing these important public health issues. We now stand ready to work with the international community to take these commitments forward.”
The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Mr Ian Wishart said the resolution was a critical milestone for the global eye health community and congratulated the Australian Government for its global leadership in seeing it through.
Mr Bob McMullan, president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), said the resolution demonstrates the increased recognition among countries of the importance of eye health for health systems and for sustainable development.
Vision 2020 Australia said a number of its members were involved in the preparation of the resolution.
“The outstanding efforts of staff at The Fred Hollows Foundation, including Jennifer Gersbeck and Brandon Ah-Tong, require particular recognition,” Vision 2020 noted.