10 Million – more than a number

By: The Our Children’s Vision Team

Our Children’s Vision started in 2016 as an idea; that if we all worked together we could achieve more - more children seen, more children treated, and more children with readily available care and services. As the year draws to a close we reflect on our successes, and forecast what lies ahead.

In an effort to upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services we looked to organisations, big and small, who are achieving incredible things for child health in the regions they work. Over 45 partners, from all corners of the globe, have embraced our vision, share in our mission and have joined the movement.

Together, we have reached 10 million children! A number we should all be proud of, but it is much more than that – it is millions of little lives that now have it easier at school, are safer on the playground, are happier and more confident in themselves. That kind of data cannot always be measured, but seen on the millions of faces encountered.

We congratulate our partners, at all levels and all contributions, for making an impact.

For us, the big picture has always been to effect long-lasting change and encourage the implementation of policy that will impact a municipality, state or country. In 2016, the governments of Cambodia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, approved policies that make vision health an inclusive part of school health programs nationwide. This is a monumental leap in the right direction – thanks to the combined efforts of multiple stakeholders.

We are seeking new insights that will support evidence bases for programs, services and care. For example, in Zanzibar we aim to understand the impact of integrating eye health into existing school health programs; in Uganda we are observing rates of prescription change and spectacle uptake among school children; and in Nigeria we want to recognise the comparative costs of different service strategies. Research findings like this will guide how we all work in the future.

It comes as no surprise that there’s lots to be done. As more and more partners join the movement it becomes increasingly apparent that the way forward truly is together. Our goal isn’t complete; we strive to reach millions more children by 2020, and bring our voices together to instigate lasting change. It is ambitious, but we are determined.

As we look toward 2017 we are excited about lies ahead. The technology available to us as a campaign will produce the largest child eye health database globally. That in itself will be a powerful tool - teaching us exactly how we reach children, how we treat them, and how together can improve.

We are thrilled to be working with the World Bank. Together we will complete situational analyses of child eye health in 43 countries of focus for the Global Partnership for Education. This work will paint a picture of the current status of eye health, and offer insights into solutions that are more effective at getting care to children, faster.
There is a lot to look forward to, watch this space…

Our Children’s Vision thanks our Global Founders Brien Holden Vision Institute and Vision for Life, Essilor for their leadership, and Global Supporters IAPB, World Council of Optometry, World Council of Ophthalmology, Global Partnership for Education and Special Olympics, as well as Global Donors Revo and Optometry Giving Sight. We also thank Global Implementing Partners AIER Eye Hospital and LV Prasad and the dozens of Implementing Partners who have come together to create Our Children’s Vision.

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