Inclusive Eye Health in Pakistan

Babar Qureshi

10GA Speaker Babar Qureshi (CBM) on his part in CBM’s upcoming course, ‘Inclusion Made Easy in Health Programmes that focuses on disability inclusive practices for eye care.

According to global figures, people with disability, including those with vision impairment, make up 20% of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people. It is therefore essential that everyone working in eye health, including planners, providers, evaluators and funders, understand key steps they can take at their own level, to build inclusion for all people.

 Since 2009, CBM has been working on approaches to Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) with two key objectives:

  • People with all disabilities access eye health services
  • People with permanent vision loss access wider opportunities, i.e. in all areas of health care, rehabilitation, education, livelihoods, social inclusion, and empowerment

In this context, CBM established pilot projects in inclusive eye health in Cambodia, Vietnam and Pakistan in 2009-10. Subsequently, pilots were run in India, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. CBM is now working with a range of other countries to strengthen inclusive practices in eye health. In 2011, CBM published its first Inclusive Eye Health manual, and an updated version followed in 2014.

CBM recently commissioned a study to identify good practice, and evidence of strengths and weaknesses in the Pakistan IEH pilot, which was implemented in Charsadda district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province, through CBM’s partner CHEF International. This programme worked with 4 Basic Health Units at the primary level, one district hospital at the secondary level as well as a number of local schools. It was implemented in the context of the 2010 floods which had caused significant damage to the physical infrastructure of the local partners.

The key strengths identified in the study were:

  • Greater accessibility of eye health services
  • A new national government focus on inclusive eye health and integration into government systems
  • The creation of a sustainable referral system
  • Greater community awareness of services and a change in community perceptions of people with disabilities

The key areas for improvement identified were:

  • Better analysis of data needed
  • Further improvements to accessibility and referral systems needed
  • Further improvements for awareness within the community, particularly in terms of policies and referral services, needed

So, don’t miss CBM’s course on 29 October, to hear about the details of this study, and CBM’s wider work in Inclusive Eye Health.

Press Release – 10GA: One month to go

9GA delegates with the World Sight Day blindfold ribbon

The 10th General Assembly, the premier global event discussing clinical and public health issues related to blindness and vision impairment, will begin on 27 October 2016.

Immediate Release: The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), with our local partners the Brien Holden Vision Institute, is delighted to welcome all eye care professionals to Durban, South Africa in October 2016.

Beginning with a series of pre-meetings, the last four days of October 2016 will witness a confluence of nearly 1200 eye care professionals from around the world in Durban. The Opening Ceremony is scheduled to be headlined by a long-term supporter of eye care in the continent, ‘Her Excellency Dr Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’, the President of Liberia and Nobel laureate, along with other dignitaries from the South African government.

Over three days of symposia, courses and plenaries, 10GA will have over 200 renowned speakers covering every aspect of eye care and public policy. Breakfast sessions in the morning, ‘Pavilion’ sessions during the breaks and social events in the evening will ensure that 10GA delivers value and is a useful networking opportunity for all our delegates. IAPB General Assemblies are always great opportunities to foster ideas, swap success stories and find solutions.

IAPB would like to thank all our exhibitors and supporters who are helping us bring this event to you. The 10GA would not have been possible without the generous support of our Programme Partners: the Brien Holden Vision Institute, CBM, Mectizan Donation Program and Orbis.  IAPB would also like to thank our 10GA ‘Eye Health Partners’: Bayer, Helen Keller International, the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO), Lion Clubs International Foundation, L’OCCITANE Foundation, Seeing is Believing/Standard Chartered Bank, Seva and Vision Impact Institute. .

10GA’s theme is “Stronger Together”. IAPB exists to foster cross-sectoral collaborations within the eye health sector—and the 10GA is a great example

“I am looking forward to welcoming all of you in Durban”, said Peter Ackland, CEO, IAPB. “The 10GA is a great opportunity for us to come together and work on a better future”. “Our theme for the GA is ‘Stronger Together’ and we (at IAPB) are very excited to bring together strong voices in the eye care sector, to build partnerships and to provide a programme that fosters learning and information exchange.”

“The 10GA will be the culmination of months of preparation and planning”, said Joanna Conlon, Director of Communications and Development, IAPB. “We have worked hard to bring this event together—and I would like to particularly thank all our sponsors for helping us make this happen.” “We are very excited to be holding the GA in the African continent after 25 years. Together with our partners in the South African government, civil society and eye care networks, we believe the 10GA will be unforgettable. See you soon!”

To find out more, please visit: http://10ga.iapb.org

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 by bringing together governments and non-governmental agencies to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programmes. For more information, please visit: http://www. iapb.org

10GA Programme Partners

Brien Holden Vision Institute

We believe sight is a fundamental right for all humans. Our mission is to create and deliver effective and innovative solutions for vision care and blindness prevention for all. Our passion for science and innovation is driven by the pursuit of knowledge and compassion for all humanity. We achieve through collaboration.

Orbis

Orbis brings the world together to fight blindness as no one should go blind from conditions that are treatable, curable or preventable. For over 30 years Orbis has helped developing nations build the skills, knowledge and resources they need to prevent blindness and provide eye care for all their people.

CBM

CBM is an international Christian development organisation committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. CBM addresses poverty as a cause and a consequence of disability, and works in partnership to create an inclusive society for all.

Mectizan Donation Program (MDP)

Established 25 years ago, the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) is the longest-running, disease-specific, drug donation program and public/private partnership of its kind. To date, approximately 2.32 billion treatments have been approved for oncho and LF. MDP’s success is largely due to the partnerships that have evolved in support of both disease elimination initiatives.

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

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

Meet SIB sponsored African delegates attending the 10GA

Kid gets his eyes checked

Standard Chartered’s global health initiative, Seeing is Believing (SiB), is sponsoring 25 mid-level medical professionals from their projects in eight African countries to attend 10GA.  Here is the first part; we continue tracing their journey.

Akua

Akua Boatemaa Agyeman

Akua Boatemaa Agyeman, a delegate selected from Ghana says attending the 10GA is a dream come true. “I am excited that I’m joining other professionals in eye care from all over the world, for this all important conference. In fact I can’t wait to interact and learn new ideas so as to render a more excellent service to my clients (patients). For me, it is indeed a dream come true. Thanks to my sponsors for making this dream a reality.”

Sia Avith Mbishi who works with one of SIB’s Innovation Fund projects on Glaucoma through CBM in Tanzania has several hopes from the GA. “I hope to get out of 10GA an increased competence addressing care seekers and their family members. I want to help them feel better, to feel unforgotten and gain more competence to serve them

Sia

Sia Avith Mbishi

technically, medically and support them emotionally.”

She is also grateful to SiB for this opportunity. “Closing my eyes for a minute I can only imagine how hard it is for a blind person. This is a lifetime opportunity whereby it will help me acquire relevant knowledge and become an eye health advocate delivering the best patient care.”

Paula

Paula Sefadzi Nkrumah-Gatsey

For Paula Sefadzi Nkrumah-Gatsey (from Ghana) attending the GA is a privilege. “I am very thankful for the privilege to be at this year’s IAPB general assembly. This is a rare opportunity where I know I will receive insight and be equipped, to enable me to join the bandwagon of preventing avoidable blindness.”

Enyonam Fiadzorgbe another delegate from Ghana, is excited to attend the GA, thanks to SiB. “I am very glad that I am a partner to SiB. SiB is not only concerned with helping in the provision of good eye care and prevention of blindness but also in the capacity building of eyecare providers. With this opportunity to attend the IAPB Conference, I feel privileged, excited and more enthusiastic to work harder. Thank you very much SiB.”

 

Scaling cataract surgical programme: 10GA course

Rohit Khanna

Rohit Khanna writes about his upcoming 10GA course, ‘How do I scale up my cataract surgical programme?’ that focuses on strategies to increase productivity of cataract surgeries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 18 million people are bilaterally blind from cataract in the world, representing almost half of all global cases of blindness. Cataract remains the leading cause of blindness and an important cause of visual impairment across the globe.

Globally, the outputs for cataract surgeries have doubled in the past decade from 10 million to 20 million annually. However, with a rise in the aging population, there has been, only a small reduction in prevalence of cataract blindness. Also of note is that though the number of cataract surgeries has increased, in many cases these are done with much better acuities and not necessarily in those that are truly blind or with severe visual impairment.

In some developing countries like India and China, the population of those who are 65 years old and above has doubled in the past two decades. Hence, despite the small reduction in prevalence of cataract blindness, the absolute numbers have increased. Apart from this there is also significant variability in cataract surgical rates (CSR) in different regions, countries as well as sub-regions within countries.

Other factors, which can affect output, are good leadership, governance, well trained human resources, finances etc. Despite all these odds, there are models across the globe, which have shown an increase in productivity in terms of output of cataract surgeries and thus showing a reduction in prevalence of blindness.

This course will explore various strategies used by projects in different regions across the globe, shedding light on: what they have in common, how they adapted to local circumstances to become successful and  allow for growth in the services provided. These include outreach activities, alternative financing, development plans, purchasing strategies, training of different cadres of eye health workers and more.

So, don’t miss the course on 29 October, to understand the key principles for increasing the cataract surgical outputs.

SiB sponsors African delegates to attend 10GA

Visual acuity test in progress

This post is from Kate Woodhead of Standard Chartered Bank, our 10GA Eye Health Investor

Launched in 2003, Seeing is Believing (SiB) is a collaboration between Standard Chartered, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and leading international eye health organisations.

Standard Chartered has committed to raise USD 100 million between 2003 and 2020 for SiB through fundraising and the Bank’s matching funds, to be invested in eye health projects that range from providing comprehensive eye-care in low and middle-income countries to building innovative eye health delivery solutions.

To help build eye health capacity in Africa, SiB is sponsoring 25 mid-level medical professionals from its projects in eight African countries to attend the 10GA. This is a fantastic opportunity for SiB to support front-line project eye health workers from different countries to share their experiences and best practice with one another, and to learn from the world-class eye health experts who will speak at the conference.

Joanice Mosha, one of the shortlisted candidates from Wake Forest in Tanzania says, “For me to attend the General Assembly in Durban will be useful. It will allow me to focus on sharing our experiences and challenges, to inspire, share innovations, celebrate success and even embarrass our neighbours”!

Attending the conference will allow Joanice and her colleagues to learn effective strategies for improving service provision in SiB projects, whilst earning Continual Professional Development points to enhance their career progression and confidence in their own professional abilities.

In order to make the difficult decision about which candidates to sponsor, Standard Chartered employee volunteers in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia interviewed applicants about their achievements and proposals for fighting avoidable blindness in their countries. The selection process was an amazing opportunity to engage staff with SiB through their employee volunteering days, and learn more about SiB projects in their country.

Christine Matambo (Head, Corporate Affairs and Brand & Marketing) one of the employee volunteers in Zambia shares, “My colleagues and I learnt more about the challenges that eye care workers face, particularly those in rural areas. We learnt about some of the cultural myths that continue to surround eye healthcare, and the challenges or barriers to accessing eye care health and proper diagnostics of eye problems in Zambia.”

Watch out for Part 2 of the story, where you hear from some of the delegates selected to attend the GA!

Photo: Orbis Zambia.

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Factors associated with spectacle compliance

Girl wearing glasses

Sumrana Yasmin of the Brien Holden Vision Institute (and 10GA Programme Partner) writes on the menace of uncorrected refractive error in children.

We know that children in all regions of the world are affected by a range of eye diseases and conditions, some of which may lead to permanent vision impairment.  We also know that poor vision can have a serious effect on a child’s development, education and ultimately their life.  It is estimated that at least one third of the world’s 72 million children who are not in school, have a disability (including those with a vision impairment).[i]

Many eye diseases and conditions are preventable or treatable, including vision impairment due to uncorrected refractive error.  A comprehensive eye examination by a qualified clinician and good quality spectacles – that’s all it takes to deal with the menace of uncorrected refractive error! There are numerous school and child eye health programmes around the globe with  support from governments, INGOs, NGOs, corporates and other stakeholders.  And yet, there are many more children with vision impairment that are not accessing eye health services, not wearing their spectacles and missing out on education opportunities.  So what are the barriers which limit their access?  Is it the cost of spectacles or unavailability of refractive services?  What are the factors which influence their choices?  Is it culture or cosmesis?

We know that child eye health is a public health issue which cannot be addressed unless we understand the core reasons and strategise our interventions accordingly.  As someone who has high myopic astigmatism since childhood and wore spectacles for most of my life, I understand and can relate to some of the factors associated with the behavior surrounding spectacles, especially for girls.  However, there is a lack of evidence which hinders effective programme development and advocacy.

Keeping this in view, the Brien Holden Vision Institute conducted a study in Pakistan to determine and compare the factors associated with compliance of spectacle wear between two groups of school children – children who get free spectacles and children who only get prescription.  We learnt that to have impact on a large scale, we need to bring eye health services closer to the communities to improve access; we need to put specific focus on health education and health promotion; and we cannot underestimate the importance of multi-sectoral collaboration.  The 10GA course will share the key findings of the study and its programmatic implications with delegates which can be factored while designing and implementing the child eye health programs.

Don’t miss out on Course 27 Uncorrected Refractive Errors on Saturday, October 29.

*Sumrana Yasmin was an Eye Health Leader 2013, nominated by the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

[i] United Nations Secretary General’s Report on the Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (2011) UN Doc A/66/230. Read the document here. Accessed on 19 September.

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Press Release: SAOA teams up with Brien Holden Vision Institute to support 10GA

SAOA logo

The South African Optometric Association (SAOA) will work with the Brien Holden Vision Institute and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to bring the 10th General Assembly (10GA) to South African optometrists.The IAPB 10th General Assembly—the premier, global eye care event will be held in Durban, South Africa between 27 and 30 October 2016.

The 10GA will host a variety of sessions–including offering CPD courses–for South African optometrists (CPD points will be awarded by the University of KwaZulu-Natal). Courses include those on ethics and ocular therapeutics, managing diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and more (please see the full programme online for more detail). 10GA will also include 12 full accredited courses approved by the General Optical Council for UK CET as well.

SAOA has also offered to help promote 10GA to their members online and at ‘Eye Focus Africa’, their hugely popular event in Johannesburg, in September 2016.

The 10GA is a great opportunity to bring together the best of optometric practice and care in South Africa, with their counterparts and colleagues from across the world. With an expected 1200 delegates, 10GA is quickly becoming a confluence of eye care opportunties and solutions –and a ‘must-attend’ for optometrists in South Africa and neighbouring countries. With an international audience and delegates from more than 60 countries, South African optometry can showcase their best work, and exchange success stories with peers from around the world.

“The 10th General Assembly is going to live up to its theme: ‘Stronger Together’”, notes Joanna Conlon, Director of Development and Communications. “Many international eye care professionals coming in to Durban will definitely be excited to share and learn from South African eye care professionals. SAOA, IAPB and the Institute are the only ones who can make this possible.”

“We are very excited to be a part of this global event”, says Patrick Mawila, President of the South African Optometry Association. “It is a great opportunity to showcase our successes and to share results and best practices with some of the best optometrists and other eye care professionals in the world. I would encourage all South African optometrists to make the most of this event.”

“The Brien Holden Vision Institute has always been a portal for exchange and learning among optometry groups around the world”, said Kovin Naidoo, CEO, Brien Holden Vision Institute. “The 10GA is another opportunity to do what we do best—bring together the best people in eye care and ensure that the outcomes reach those most in need, in every corner of the world.”

For more information do visit: http://10ga.iapb.org

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 by bringing together governments and non-governmental agencies to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programmes. Please visit: www.iapb.org

About the South African Optometry Association

The South African Optometric Association is a professional association representing optometrists and dispensing opticians across all forms of practice modalities in both the private and public sectors. The main objective of the SAOA is to accommodate the interests of optometrists and dispensing opticians as well as the general public in South Africa. Please visit: http://www.saoa.co.za/

 About the Brien Holden Vision Institute

The Institute’s core business is creating new ways to improve vision outcomes for people whose sight is affected by refractive error. Building sustainable eye care systems through service development, education, training activities and related research in developing communities worldwide. At the Brien Holden Vision Institute, Public Health there are four key pillars of our organisation – human resource development, service development, research and social enterprise. For more information, please visit: http://brienholdenvision.org/

The 10th General Assembly (10GA)

10GA Programme Partners

Brien Holden Vision Institute

We believe sight is a fundamental right for all humans. Our mission is to create and deliver effective and innovative solutions for vision care and blindness prevention for all. Our passion for science and innovation is driven by the pursuit of knowledge and compassion for all humanity. We achieve through collaboration.

Orbis

Orbis brings the world together to fight blindness as no one should go blind from conditions that are treatable, curable or preventable. For over 30 years Orbis has helped developing nations build the skills, knowledge and resources they need to prevent blindness and provide eye care for all their people.

CBM

CBM is an international Christian development organisation committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world. CBM addresses poverty as a cause and a consequence of disability, and works in partnership to create an inclusive society for all.

Mectizan Donation Program (MDP)

Established 25 years ago, the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) is the longest-running, disease-specific, drug donation program and public/private partnership of its kind. To date, approximately 2.32 billion treatments have been approved for oncho and LF. MDP’s success is largely due to the partnerships that have evolved in support of both disease elimination initiatives.

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

Media contact:

Tejah Balantrapu, Communications Manager, tejahb@iapb.org. Phone: +91 40 44334160

Films for behavioural change towards eye care: 10GA Poster

10GA_orbis_poster_videoscreening (1)

Can films really help breakdown the social and cultural barriers that prevent people from seeking out eye care? Orbis Africa in partnership with STEPS set out to test just that.

STEPS, a special collaboration between filmmakers from Southern Africa and European broadcasters, produced three eye health documentaries to initiate social change and pioneer awareness of eye disease. In order to promote debate and discussions, the screenings incorporate personal testimonies and discussions wherein the facilitators encourage the audience to decide on individual and group action.

The study was carried out based on an Orbis commissioned research by Medical Anthropologist Professor Susan Levine, who identified several factors as barriers that prevent caregivers from taking their children for evaluation and management of their eye problems.

To learn more, be a part of the Poster presentation by Helen White, at the 10GA, on 29 October, between 15:30 to 16:00.

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New price for economy pass

10GA economy pass

The Economy Pass is now available to all African eye care professionals. Delegates with the Economy Pass can attend the Scientific Programme (Oct 28, 29 and 30) and access lunch and coffee.

This registration DOES NOT include access to the social programme, including the Opening Ceremony. 

Economy Pass ZAR 3,950/ USD 256.49

Register for IAPB 10GA Now

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Peek Vision: Vision & Health for Everyone

Woman staring at the mobile screen

Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Co-Founder & CEO of Peek Vision and Clinical Lecturer at International Centre for Eye Health, shares a tale of a patient that left an impression

Her skinny arms were pushing people away, while her son Phillip gently tried to calm her so we could examine her. We measured her vision at “perception of light” in both eyes, in other words, she can tell the difference between day and night, nothing more. I eventually get to see her close enough to see she has dense cataracts in both eyes. Mama Philip has been blind for 30 years. She is now 96.

A couple of weeks later, Mama Phillip and thirteen other patients are taken to the hospital for surgery. In the morning, Mama Phillip, who is surprisingly strong for a small, fragile lady in her 90s, is causing mayhem and is not cooperating with the hospital team. Eventually the decision is taken to sedate her and do her surgery as quickly as possible. In the early evening she wakes up, patch over her operated eye. Within minutes, the peace on the ward has vanished and she is kicking and screaming. It is believed that Mama Philip has dementia. However her friends are able to calm her and the night passes.

In the early hours of the morning, after her patch has been removed, she looks years younger, is calm and chatting with fellow patients. She is no longer displaying any signs of dementia. Her surgery has gone well and her sight restored. Later that day she is taken home.

When she arrives at her village, she stares and takes everything in. It is all so familiar, yet different. A man stands in front of her, expectantly.

After what seems like an eternity, she looks intensely and asks, “Phillip, is that you?”. Her son nods and breaks down in tears.

She walks up to him and says, “You look so old, what happened?!”

It is the same with her neighbours and relatives, who she points out and names with the usual, “you look so old”. Before long, most of the village have arrived and break into dance and song.

There are many times when we wonder if we are doing enough with what we have, if we can ever do enough. Then there are moments like this that make it all worthwhile.

We know that millions of people like Mama Phillip remain unnecessarily blind. At Peek Vision, we are committed to making this a thing of the past.

Andrew with Countess of Wessex

Andrew with the Countess of Wessex ; Image credit: QEDJT – Tara Moore

Peek is a team of technologists, eye specialists, public health doctors and product designers who are passionate about making high quality eye care available to everyone.

Peek is a unique smartphone-based system for comprehensive eye testing anywhere in the world. The Peek Vision Foundation is a UK registered charity formed from a collaboration led by the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Andrew will be holding a live demonstration of Peek at the IAPB Knowledge Pavilion, on 30 October at 10:30 am.

He is also presenting in several courses:

 

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