The WHO launched the Word Report on Vision (WRV) at a global level on 9 October 2019 on the eve of World Sight Day 2019. Since then, the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in collaboration with respective Ministries of health, World Health Organization (WHO), IAPB members and national stakeholders has been working to coordinate country launches of the World report on vision to ensure its implementation at the national level.
In the Southeast Asia region, Nepal is the second country to hold a launch after Bangladesh.
The event took place virtually on 29th April 2021. Acting Secretary of Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) Dr. Roshan Pokhrel, officially unveil the WHO- World Report on Vision Report. Altogether more than 100 participants from country and abroad virtually participated this important event.
During the launch, the Acting Secretary of Ministry of Health and Population Dr. Roshan Pokhrel committed integrating eye health into mainstream health system and plan in Nepal. The eye health will soon be considered as a part of universal health coverage. Good eye health system is also crucial in achieving SDG goals. Speakers from WHO and IAPB presented about the Assistive Technology in Eye Care, Integrated People Centered Eye Care and WHO tools. Dr Razia Pendse, Director, Healthier Population and Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO Regional Office for Southeast Asia commended the Government of Nepal, and MOHP for taking forward recommendations of the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly on improving eye health care services. First country in the region to achieve Trachoma Elimination in 2018, Nepal is developing the National Eye Health Strategy that will provide the policy and programmatic framework for integrating eye care within the umbrella of UHC. This is critical to ensure equitable access for needed care leaving no one behind. WHO will continue to work together with the national counterparts in achieving the national vision for universal eye care in Nepal.
“Nepal has made remarkable success in reducing blindness from Nepal,” says WHO Representative to Nepal Dr Rajesh Pandav. “However, Nepal need to include eye care in national health plans and integrate eye health into government health care system to achieve universal health coverage.”
Mr. Peter Holland, Chief Executive Officer of IAPB adds at the concluding session: “I congratulate Nepal for unveiling this crucial document despite of COVID-19 pandemic. The eye care service of Nepal is one of the successful examples of Public Private Partnership in health care. In the years to come, we will work with WHO and IAPB members to integrated People Centered Eye Care services in Nepal”.
At present at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment, of whom at least 1 billion have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed. The world faces considerable challenges in terms of eye care, including inequalities in the coverage and quality of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services; a shortage of trained eye care service providers; and poor integration of eye care services into health systems, among others. The World report on vision aims to address these challenges and galvanize action.
Produced at the request of Member States during a side event to the 70th World Health Assembly, and with the support of experts from around the world, the report provides evidence on the magnitude of eye conditions and vision impairment globally, draws attention to effective strategies to address eye care, and offers recommendations for action to improve eye care services worldwide. The key proposal of the report is for all countries to provide integrated people-centred eye care services which will ensure that people receive a continuum of eye care based on their individual needs throughout their lives.
The World report on vision is directed at ministries of health, development agencies, civil society organizations and researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from the field of eye care. It is hoped that by shaping the global agenda on vision, the report will assist Member States and their partners in their efforts to reduce the burden of eye conditions and vision loss and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG target 3.8 on universal health coverage.
Nepal has made remarkable success in eye care during the last two decades in t erm s of infrastructure development, human resources development, disease control (reducing the prevalence of blindness by 60%, significant decline in blinding xerophthalmia, elimination of” trachoma as a public health problem}. However, there are lot of challenges and problems to deliver eye care services at the community level. Hence, implementation of World Report of Vision recommendation is important to increase the coverage of eye care services.