World Health Assembly adopts resolution on vision

30 Sep 2020

The World Health Assembly has adopted a resolution on integrated people-centred eye care, including preventable vision impairment and blindness.

The resolution urges World Health Organization Member States to take action to implement recommendations from the ‘World report on vision’ launched by WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in October 2019.

Specifically, the resolution recommends all Member States make eye care an integral part of universal health coverage; implement integrated people-centred eye care in health systems; promote high-quality implementation and health systems research complementing existing evidence for effective eye care interventions; monitor trends and evaluate progress towards implementing integrated people-centred eye care; and raise awareness and engage and empower people and communities in respect of eye care needs. 

The resolution also notes recognizes that eye health is critical to achieve neglected tropical disease (NTD) targets, most notably in the cases of trachoma and onchocerciasis. The resolution recognizes that health systems must have the capacity, including adequate resources, to document, identify, screen for, treat and manage trachoma and onchocerciasis, using defined strategies, and, after verification or validation of elimination, to continue to retain people in eye care in order to manage these conditions and their complications.

“We welcome the WHO resolution of vision and its emphasis on the integration of eye care into routine health services”, said Serge Resnikoff, Immediate Past Chair of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control. “To achieve and sustain the elimination of trachoma as a public health problem, it is critical that interventions are embedded into routine health services so that people can access services when they need them. Vertical and siloed approaches will not suffice. WHO’s World Report on Vision and 2021-2030 NTD road map, as well as ICTC’s preferred practices for transition planning, will be critical in forming and strengthening the cross-sectoral partnerships needed to deliver integrated people-centred eye care and achieve universal health coverage.”

The resolution was co-sponsored by 45 countries and led by the governments of Australia and Indonesia. By adopting the resolution, WHO’s 194 Member States also agree to report on progress in the implementation of the resolution to the Seventy-seventh World Health Assembly in 2025, and to ensure that eye health is included as part of regular reporting on resolution WHA69.11.