Tag Archives: CBM

Mitigating barriers in comprehensive eye care


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.
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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: https://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: https://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


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