WHO guide aims to help countries tackle global eye care crisis

May 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a guide to help countries address the global eye care crisis by prioritising eye health issues.

The guide, titled ‘Eye care in health systems: guide for action’, aims to help governments, organisations and other key stakeholders deliver high-quality, inclusive eye care. It provides an evidence-based framework to help countries assess their eye health services, plus tools to support countries to achieve WHO’s global eye health targets.

The guide also aims to help implement recommendations in the World Report on Vision, which estimated that without urgent action, the number of people who are blind could triple by 2050. The World Report on Vision drew attention to the growing need for eye health services, provided a set of recommendations to increase equitable access to eye care, and proposed the integration of people-centred eye care services.

Sumrana Yasmin, Sightsavers’ senior global technical lead for eye health, who was part of the team that developed elements of the new guide, said: “Eye health is an often-forgotten element of health and wellbeing, and this has led to a mounting global crisis. The WHO guide is a vital step to addressing this.

“The big task ahead is to make sure that long-term investment, policies and resources are in place to achieve recommendations set out in the World Report on Vision and make use of the tools in the guide. To improve eye health and universal health coverage, it is essential that there is collaboration between governments, non-government organisations, private sector and other stakeholders, and eye health services are integrated into wider health and education systems.”

The guide was launched at the 75th World Health Assembly on 24 May.

A boy in Zanzibar wears special specs to have his eyes tested.

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