Policy Change

Working in partnership with local governments and fostering collaborations within the sector enables us to advocate for policy change

What does policy change have to do with eye care?

Policy change can be a catalyst for lasting reform in countries where eye care needs are not being met due to lack of infrastructure, trained workforce and available services, and where planning for them is not evident.

With eye health incorporated into the health care planning of national or regional governments it is far more likely that resources and budgets will be allocated to the necessary services and that this element of health care will be institutionalised, ensuring sustainability beyond our involvement.

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How does that work in real life situations?

Policy change happens through extensive advocacy efforts and consultation with governments and other stakeholders about eye care needs and the positive health, social and economic impacts that healthy vision can have on individuals, families and communities.

It also involves offering expertise and guidance in developing policies and planning for the establishment of relevant services.

One example is our efforts to promote the adoption of national blindness prevention plans in countries where we are active, as recommended by the World Health Organization’s ‘Universal eye health’ Global Action Plan 2015-2019.

Another approach are our representations to have an eye health component included in school health policies, which have been successful in several locations. This is a critical intervention in some contexts because it represents one of the most effective ways to detect and treat vision problems among children.

"Integration of eye health into school health policy requires good collaboration between the ministries of health and education. We worked with both the school health officer in Ministry of Health and the school health policy officer in-charge at the Ministry of education for input on the eye health component before the policy was finalised."

Dr Naomi Nsubuga, Sub-regional Manager for East Africa