Tag Archives: Programme Partner

Mitigating barriers in comprehensive eye care

10GABlog_CBM

Sponsor post: Dr. Manfred Mörchen, Regional Advisor for Inclusive Eye Health, the Philippines of CBM, our 10GA Programme Partner, writes on disability inclusive practices for strengthening comprehensive eye care.

Blindness and low vision have been identified as an important global cause of the years lived with disability, and empowerment of people who are blind or have low vision is one of the key cross-cutting principles of the WHO Global Action Plan 2014-2019 (“Universal Eye Health”). As only 2% of people in lower income countries have access to basic services and rehabilitation, CBM strives to improve the access for everybody, including people with all types of disabilities, to eye health programmes and to make sure that people with unavoidable blindness and visual impairment have access to low vision services and rehabilitation.

Dr. Manfred Moerchen, German, Ophthalmologist

Dr. Manfred Moerchen

I was trained as an ophthalmologist in the nineties at a tertiary eye hospital in Germany, equipped with all types of state-of-the art expensive equipment. One day, when celebrating World Sight Day, we invited a self-help group of patients with unavoidable visual impairment. They were impressed by the technical possibilities but told us that it was difficult to orientate in the eye department as the building had obviously not been designed to facilitate access for people with visual impairment.

As an ophthalmologist, I was ashamed that even in one of the richest countries in the world we failed to address the needs of patients who needed assistance beyond purely medical treatment.

It strikes me that 15 years later, we still struggle with the same barriers to a holistic eye health service. Eye hospitals are designed without involving people with disabilities in planning. Access to phaco surgery is now often easier than access to low vision devices and people whose sight cannot be restored are constantly not referred to rehabilitation. Again, much more work is needed to mitigate barriers for people with additional impairments: How do we communicate with a cataract patient who is hearing impaired? Do we make sure that patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa and Usher Syndrome are referred to a hearing test? How do we communicate with a patient with Down Syndrome and refractive error?

The GA course will inform 10GA delegates about CBM’s approach to improve disability inclusive practices for strengthening comprehensive eye care with practical examples from eye health projects in Africa and Asia. For instance, delegates will gain insight into how a tertiary eye hospital can improve inclusive practices by employing people with visual impairment, by involving people with all types of disability in improving physical accessibility and by collaborating with Disability People Organizations in mass screening for cataract in the communities.
The 10GA will be an excellent opportunity to share experiences, discuss opportunities and challenges and elaborate on further steps. Practical examples have proven that this is possible, even for programmes with limited financial budget! We will also discuss the challenging aspect of monitoring inclusion to make sure that patients with disabilities are represented in our data and how that might contribute to Universal Eye Health. The goal to further reduce blindness and visual impairment will not be possible if everybody do not have an equal chance to access services.
Also see: 

Sign up for the 10GA Newsletter

Press Release: Announcing another Programme Partner – CBM

Child reading with magnifying glass

10GA Programme Partner: CBM

IAPB’s 10th General Assembly, the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment, is delighted to announce another Programme Partner – CBM.

As Programme Partner, CBM will be presenting a course on ‘Inclusive Eye Health’ as part of the 10GA Scientific Programme. Women and men, boys and girls with disability, including those with vision impairment, make up 15% of the world’s poorest and most marginalised—nearly 1 billion people. It is therefore essential that everyone working in eye health, including planners, providers, evaluators & funders, understand key steps they can take at their own level, to build inclusion for all people.

Working with its partners, CBM has been actively building and evaluating its practices in inclusive eye health, and seeking to develop and share these within the wider eye-health and disability sectors since 2009. Led by course conveners Babar Qureshi and David Lewis, the session on Inclusive Eye Health will bring together specialist speakers and present best practices and case studies from a variety of sources.

“With nearly one billion people with disabilities in the world, it is imperative that we work with them to improve their quality of life by overcoming barriers that cause exclusion” says Babar Qureshi, Global Advisor for Eye Health, CBM. “The objective of the course is that participants grow in knowledge and understanding of the key principles and practices which will ensure access to eye health for all people, and that patients with long term visual impairment access wider opportunities”.

10GA’s theme is “Stronger Together”. In 2016, IAPB will be showcasing one of the eye health sector’s remarkable success stories – our longstanding cross-sectoral partnerships. “We are delighted to that CBM is one of our Programme Partners”, said Joanna Conlon, Director of Development, IAPB. “CBM’s commitment and efforts to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities around the world are exemplary—we all have much to learn from them.”
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: www. iapb.org

About CBM

CBM is one of the leading international development agencies focused on people with disabilities. It supports the provision of services and the development of inclusion and empowerment for people with visual, hearing and physical impairment, and those with psycho-social disabilities in 63 poor and middle income countries. CBM seeks to alleviate poverty, assisting people with disabilities regardless of their nationality, ethnic group, gender, age or religion.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cbm.org

The 10th General Assembly (10GA)

IAPB’s 10th General Assembly (10GA) is the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment. Catering to every eye health professional – ophthalmologists, optometrists, other eye health professionals, development and public health experts, key opinion leaders, procurement specialists, CEOs, eye care equipment manufacturers – 10GA will be the biggest event in the eye health calendar in 2016. With the theme “Stronger Together”, IAPB aims to underscore the key value it delivers to the eye care sector – building partnerships and ensuring that the entire sector speaks in one voice.
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 causes 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

 

Sign up for the 10GA Newsletter

Giving every child a fair chance

10GA_orbis_blog_1

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.

 

Sign up for the 10GA Newsletter

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

 

Sign up for the 10GA Newsletter

The Mectizan Donation Program joins 10GA as Programme Partner

Treatment is brought to every home in the village. ZANZIBAR © Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease

The Mectizan Donation Program joins IAPB’s 10th General Assembly, the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment, as a ‘Programme Partner’.
The Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) will be presenting a course on onchocerciasis as part of the 10GA Scientific Programme. Onchocerciasis, commonly known as river blindness, is caused by infection with the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus, which is transmitted by the bites of a black fly. The vast majority of the estimated 37 million infected people live in West, Central and East Africa, with smaller foci in Latin America and Yemen. River blindness is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide. Mectizan—the only known drug well-tolerated by humans–relieves the agonizing itching that accompanies the disease and halts progression toward blindness.

Merck’s* Mectizan Donation Program is the longest-running, disease-specific, drug donation programme and public/private partnership of its kind. It was started to provide medical, technical and administrative oversight of the donation of Mectizan, after Merck* announced in 1987 that it would be donated to all who needed it, for as long as needed.

For the session on onchocerciasis, the Mectizan Donation Program and IAPB will work together to bring specialist speakers to present the latest research on the elimination of onchocerciasis worldwide.

“Ivermectin’s (Mectizan) impact on the world is not difficult to fathom. A billion treatments have been administered so far, and its discovery garnered a Nobel Prize in 2015” noted Dr Adrian Hopkins, Mectizan Donation Program. “The Program is proof that we can eliminate the disease, with political support and international collaboration”.

10GA’s theme is “Stronger Together”. In 2016, IAPB will be showcasing one of the eye health sector’s remarkable success stories – our longstanding cross-sectoral partnerships. “We are delighted that the Mectizan Donation Program is one of our Programme Partners”, said Joanna Conlon, Director of Development, IAPB. “The Program is at the forefront of global efforts to eliminate an avoidable cause of blindness that effects the poorest. This Assembly is an opportunity to celebrate its success and focus on the end-game”.

About Mectizan Donation Program

Established 29 years ago, the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) is the longest-running, disease-specific, drug donation program and public/private partnership of its kind. Currently, MDP approves an average of 140 million treatments for onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis annually.

For more information, please visit: http://www.mectizan.org

*Merck is known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada

Image courtesy: Centre for Neglected Tropical Disease

 

Sign up for the 10GA Newsletter

10GA has its first Programme Partner: Orbis

ORBIS_Logo_COLOR_1

IAPB’s 10th General Assembly, the premier global event discussing public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment, has its first Programme Partner – Orbis.

As Programme Partner, Orbis will be presenting a course on ‘Paediatric Eye Health’ as part of the 10GA Scientific Programme. With an estimated 1.4 million blind children–45% from avoidable causes– the pattern of causes of childhood blindness and visual impairment vary widely between and even within countries. Factors like the need for surgical intervention (for cataract), access to services, importance of wider health and social practices all have a key role to play in tackling paediatric eye health.

Orbis, dedicated to preserving and restoring sight, has been keenly interested in tackling the causes of childhood blindness around the world. Since its inception in 1982, Orbis has worked with institutions in the developing world to improve capacity and train new specialists in tackling the myriad causes of blindness, with a particular focus on children.

For the session on paediatric eye health, Orbis and IAPB will work together to bring specialist speakers and presenting the latest research on the topic to the participants.

“With nearly 300,000 children in need of eye care services in Africa, innovative solutions are critical to bring high-quality services to resource-poor settings” says Lene Øverland, Orbis Africa CEO. “Orbis has the expertise—honed in Africa and other developing countries—to tackle childhood blindness, in partnership with our partners and supporters in the eye care sector and beyond. Much of our work is the result of the trusted relationships we have built with national governments, health organisations, educational institutions, and the child health and child rights sectors. Together, we can work towards building lasting solutions”.

10GA’s theme is “Stronger Together”. In 2016, IAPB will be showcasing one of the eye health sector’s remarkable success stories – our longstanding cross-sectoral partnerships. “We are delighted to invite Orbis as our first Programme Partner”, said Joanna Conlon, Director of Development, IAPB. “Orbis showcases all that is good and best within the eye care sector—great quality of service and a keen interest in sharing good practices.”

 

Sign up for the 10GA Newsletter