Trust becomes newest member of the IAPB

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is delighted to have become the newest member of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

Eighty percent of blindness is avoidable, and the Trust is poised to play a major role in making this shocking reality a thing of the past. Since the Trust was established in 2012 it has been developing a strategic five-year programme that focuses on the elimination of blinding trachoma, tackling retinopathy of prematurity and diabetic retinopathy across the Commonwealth. For over a year it has been working closely with the IAPB to explore new strategies and collaborations to address avoidable blindness.

The IAPB is a coalition of 120 members, now including the Trust, and is made up of civil society organisations, professional bodies, corporates and universities working together with the joint goal of eliminating avoidable blindness and visual impairment worldwide. Through this unity it brings together government and non-governmental agencies to facilitate the planning, development and implementation of sustainable national eye care programmes.

As an IAPB member, and with a seat at its Board, the Trust will work closely with all key stakeholders in the eye health sector. The 194 member countries of the World Health Organisation (WHO) have recently adopted a five-year Global Action Plan for universal eye health, which builds on VISION 2020 – the global initiative set up in 1999 for the elimination of avoidable blindness. The Trust will be helping to advocate for the Action Plan’s successful implementation and to ensure that all citizens in Commonwealth countries can access good quality, affordable eye health services, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Speaking about the Trust’s membership, Joanna Conlon, IAPB’s Director of Development said,

The Trust embodies the goodwill and support of citizens and countries from across the Commonwealth. Its resolve to make a decisive contribution to the elimination of avoidable blindness also received the support of Commonwealth Heads of Government at their recent meeting. The IAPB believes that the Trust’s input will add a fresh impetus to theGlobal Action Plan and to the sector in general.

Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of the Trust said,

The Trust is working to galvanise efforts in the fight to eliminate avoidable blindness. Our aim is that millions of people within the Commonwealth will not only keep their sight or have it restored, but will also have increased prosperity and a better quality of life. The IAPB is leading international efforts to prevent avoidable blindness across the Commonwealth and around the world and we are delighted to have become a member to support its vital work.

For more information on the IAPB, please click here to visit their website.

Dr Andrew Cooper, the Trust’s Director of Programmes, has contributed to the IAPB blog about the Trust’s decision to become a member of the IAPB, which you can read here.