CBM is a key sponsor of the IAPB’s 10th General Assembly (10GA) from 27-30 October 2016 which will be held in Durban, South Africa. The 10GA is the biggest event in the 2016 eye health calendar and will bring together global experts in eye health, eye health institutions, NGOs, networks and government representatives to discuss public health issues related to blindness and visual impairment. With the theme “Stronger Together”, IAPB aims to build and strengthen partnerships and ensure a united voice.
The following blog is written by Dr. Babar Qureshi, CBM Director for Neglected Tropical Diseases on his part in CBM’s upcoming course, ‘Inclusion Made Easy in Health Programmes’, that focuses on disability inclusive practices for eye care.
Inclusive Eye Health in Pakistan
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.
CBM NTD Report 2016:
More than 1 billion people – one-sixth of the world’s population – are affected by one or more neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and another 2 billion people are at risk, mainly in the tropics and sub-tropics. Take a look at our Neglected Tropical Diseases Report 2016 for more information about our work with NTDs.
Inclusive eye health:
‘Inclusion Made Easy in Eye Health Programs’ is designed for program staff in international development organisations. It is a practical guide on how to ensure eye-health programs are disability-inclusive. It is accompanied by a handy brochure/ poster with 10 tips for getting started.