In 2018, the Commonwealth made a bold commitment to give access to quality eye care to all. This was the first time any heads of state had made a pledge to support eye care on a large scale.
This encouraged the UN to create its first resolution regarding to eye care and was backed by countries such as Antigua, Barbuda and Bangladesh. Whilst the pledges sound promising there is still a lot of work to be done. In some African countries, diseases such as trachoma are still present as well as River Blindness. Ghana and Gambia have both eliminated blinding trachoma and many more countries are well on their way to eradicating the disease completely.
Building upon the 2018 commitment, the Commonwealth Coalition has renewed its call for education ministers to work with health ministers to ensure that the provision of eye tests, affordable glasses and treatments are available across the commonwealth by 2030.
Diseases that have destroyed so many lives are now beginning to be eradicated. The progress that is occurring with eye care is impressive but there is still a long way to go. In regards to the commonwealth’s efforts, real change can’t happen until the entirety of the commonwealth participate. With the goal being to limit the number of children with sight difficulties, all countries must be on board.
It has been reported that across the world over 300 million children suffer with a sight issue and require glasses to have clear vision. It is predicted that by 2030, the amount of children would have increased to 500 million. This is why action needs to be taken now – before it is too late.
It 2018 commonwealth nations such as Samoa, Botswana and New Zealand announced that all children would be receiving free eye tests. If the entire commonwealth and world join in with this and encourage all children to have their eyes tested, many eye issues and diseases, like trachoma, may be able to be eradicated worldwide.
If I have learnt anything from the creation of the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation, it is that direct and grassroots intervention with eye care has a significant impact on poverty levels. Children in developing countries with untreated eyesight issues are almost guaranteed a life of poverty. Not being able to receive an education causes a multitude of issues, the main one being not having access to employment.
With the significant amount of progress occurring, it is clear that many countries across the world are making impactful decisions to improve eye care for everyone and I am proud to be a part of that movement.
You can now register to watch the Focus on 2030 in sight for our Children.
This is an online seminar focused on sharing insights and experiences on prioritising eye care for children.
Get involved! Leave a comment down below to ask questions and give your view!