Giving every child a fair chance

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Sponsor post: Lene Øverland, CEO of Orbis Africa, our 10GA Programme Partner, writes on why paediatric eye health is important to their work in Africa.

Lene Øverland, CEO Orbis Africa | Photo credit: Clare Louise Thomas

Lene Øverland, CEO Orbis Africa | Photo credit: Clare Louise Thomas

With 1.3m of the world’s 1.4m blind children living in Africa and Asia, and the worldwide prevalence of blindness being highest in Africa, the focus of Orbis’s work on the African continent centres around child eye health. Establishing and strengthening child-friendly eye centres, providing specialist training on the treatment of children’s delicate eyes, and ensuring that the appropriate equipment is available are all essential to eliminating child blindness and have been key to Orbis’s interventions to date.

I went to school in the eighties in Norway when the country was booming with oil money. Every school had a nurse on site and a full size football field. The nurse would weigh us, ensure we were fully vaccinated before clearing us to play and learn. Our eyesight was only tested at specific, and far from regular, intervals. Perhaps a lack of vision was not perceived to be a threat to a happy educated childhood? Or perhaps vision was perceived to be a treatable issue that the child would simply tell their parent or teacher about?

By age 12, I had shifted my seating as close to the blackboard as possible so that I could see the writing and had developed very sharp hearing. It was only at age 12, at the scheduled test, that I was referred to an ophthalmologist and received my first pair of bright red spectacles to correct my newly diagnosed near-sightedness. At last I could shift further back in the classroom.

But, when one of the wealthiest countries in the world didn’t pick up vision impairment, even with dedicated staff in every school, how can we expect schools with far less resources to do so? The answer to uncorrected refractive errors, potentially resulting in delayed learning, is certainly not to wait for the child to express that there is a problem as often they view the change in their vision as ‘normal’. More work is needed to create health-seeking behaviours that enable children and adults to address conditions affecting their quality of life.

Delegates who attend Course#26 will gain insight into the way in which Orbis utilises multi-disciplinary teams to design strategies which address the complex barriers to eye health within all levels of the health system. Orbis interventions are meticulously designed, based on sound theoretical principles and locally generated evidence, and integrated with rigorous monitoring and evaluation to promote continuous learning and maximise impact.

IAPB and the 10GA can play a significant role by presenting a strong case to decision makers on the importance of knowing how to practically plan and budget for eye health on a national and provincial level. The goal to prevent avoidable blindness can be achieved in Africa with significant investment empowering communities and giving them access to quality eye healthcare services. If children are left behind, communities will be prevented from flourishing and thriving. This investment could mean that no child, whether they live in Norway or Africa, will ever face a lifetime of preventable and treatable visual impairment or blindness.

 

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Press Release: IAPB and L’OCCITANE Foundation announce ‘Eye Health Heroes’ 2016

The Eye Health Heroes 2016 initiative will recognize and celebrate frontline staff whose work in the field and engagement with the community makes a real difference in restoring sight.

This second instalment of the Heroes initative (we honoured 18 Heroes during the 9th General Assembly in 2012) will look to fete ‘Heroes’ nominated by IAPB member organisations from their frontline staff or from their partners at IAPB’s 10th General Assembly in Durban, South Africa. The 10GA is the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment.

These individuals are at the forefront of tackling one of the key public health inequities of our times: 4 out of 5 visually impaired people are avoidably so. Nominations are expected to come in from 150 IAPB member organisations from around the world, including virtually every major international eye health NGO, global apex bodies for both ophthalmology and optometry, disabled persons’ organisations, academic institutions and concerned corporations, all working together to eliminate avoidable blindness and visual impairment worldwide.

The 10GA presents an unparalleled opportunity to showcase key personnel and their contributions to a project or mission. At the GA, these heroes will be showcased in a number of ways–online and on-site publicity material, speaking slots during the Assembly and a formal award event during the Celebration ceremony, among other things. We do hope IAPB members will nominate their Heroes and bring them to the Assembly so that they can benefit from the full experience.

The L’OCCITANE Foundation is sponsoring the eye health Hero awards, including travel bursaries for 2 nominees who will be selected from the final list. Speaking about the awards, Charlotte Bonnet, General Delegate, said “Frontline efforts and community outreach is where decisive good is being achieved across the world. We are excited to partner with IAPB in celebrating the people, who with each intervention, are turning the tide in our favour”.

“IAPB believes that the Heroes are an excellent opportunity to celebrate frontline staff and their work. And what better opportunity than the General Assembly, in front of the entire sector!”, said Joanna Conlon, IAPB’s Director of Development. “We are also delighted that L’OCCITANE will support the Eye Health Heroes initiative at 10GA”.

Those interested can fill in the nomination form on the 10GA website, here: http://10ga.iapb.org/eye-health-heroes-nomination-form/

Notes to Editors:
About IAPB
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is the coordinating membership organisation leading international efforts in blindness prevention activities. IAPB’s mission is to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

For more information, please visit: www.iapb.org

About L’OCCITANE Foundation
With an average annual budget of € 1,000,000, the L’OCCITANE Foundation supports every year some twenty five projects focusing on fighting avoidable blindness, women’s leadership, and the preservation of natural heritage.
For more information, please visit: http://fondation.loccitane.com

About the 10th General Assembly
IAPB’s 10th General Assembly (10GA) is the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment. With the theme “Stronger Together”, an expected 1600 delegates will have access to an exceptional learning and information exchange opportunities from 27-30 October 2016.
For more information, please visit: http://10ga.iapb.org

Global Facts

  • About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment)
  • preventable cause are as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness

Please visit http://www.iapb.org/vision-2020/global-facts for latest data on blindness and visual impairment.

Media Contact

B V Tejah
Communications Manager, IAPB, tejahb@iapb.org; +91 99496 97771

 

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Eye Health Heroes 2016

IAPB and L’OCCITANE Foundation are delighted to bring you Eye Health Heroes 2016. The Heroes initiative will recognize and celebrate frontline staff whose work in the field and engagement with the community makes a real difference in restoring sight.

Nominated by IAPB member organisations from within their ranks, or from their partner organisations, the nominated Heroes will be honoured at the 10GA’s Celebration Ceremony. The 10GA presents an unparalleled opportunity to showcase key staff who are working to make a difference with their work every day. At the GA, these heroes will be showcased in a number of ways–online and on-site publicity material, speaking slots during the Assembly and a formal award event during the Celebration ceremony, among other things.

This second instalment of the Heroes (We celebrated 18 Heroes during the 9th General Assembly in 2012) will build on our previous experience and will ensure that the Heroes have adequate opportunities for networking and sector-wide collaboration, not to mention the recognition and respect of their peers.

Nominations are now closed.

 See the nominated Heroes here – heroes.iapb.org

With support from:
L'OCCITANE logo

 

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Abstract submission deadline extended!

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The Abstract submission deadline for IAPB 10GA has been extended by one month–the new deadline is 25 April 2016. All those struggling for time to submit your abstracts, now have the opportunity to do so.

The Programme Committee welcomes abstract submissions that are methodologically sound and add to the sector’s knowledge, from every eye care professional. Do send in your abstracts at the earliest!

Submissions are now closed

Thank you for your interest

 

 

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