WHO wins global partnership award
The WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 (GET2020) has been awarded the ‘Global Partnership Award’ at the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness’ (IAPB) 10th General Assembly.
The event hosted more than one thousand delegates from across the globe and at its Opening Ceremony, key eye care professionals and organisations have been honoured for their contributions to blindness prevention.
Accepting the award was Dr Anthony Solomon, Medical Officer for Trachoma at the World Health Organization, and Secretary to the WHO Alliance for GET2020 amongst others. Dr Solomon said, “The WHO Alliance for GET2020 has been working in partnership against trachoma for twenty years, and with a small amount of additional investment and a lot of hard work, is now poised to achieve its objectives. This award is a testament to the incredible collaboration that has been fostered within the Alliance, which has paved the way for saving the sight of millions of people around the world.”
Orbis is one of 100 partners that form the Alliance alongside SightSavers, Rotary International, Helen Keller International, International Eye Foundation, the World Blind Union and the World Council of Optometry. The Alliance was established by WHO in 1996 and today works in around 58 countries. Orbis has been working in Ethiopia – which has one of the highest rates of blinding trachoma in the world - for 15 years and were jointly responsible for establishing the WHO’s SAFE (Surgery, Antibiotics, Face washing, Environment) initiative there. We've also played a key role within the country contributing towards the Global Trachoma Mapping Project – the world’s largest ever survey of an infectious disease, which took place in January 2016.
The survey showed that 12.4 million children worldwide have active trachoma, more than 200 million people are at risk of trachoma blindness and 3.2 million people need surgery for trachomatous trichiasis.
In response to the challenges identified in 2020INSight, a report released in 2011, members of the Alliance have united to drive the momentum for elimination: promoting it within the context of universal health coverage and as a tracer for poverty alleviation within the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as enhancing national ownership and partnership for elimination efforts.
The ‘Blueprint for action’ in Eliminating Trachoma: Accelerating Towards 2020 is the continued collaboration and cooperation of these partners, whose contributions continue to increase year upon year.
Without organisations like Orbis and the World Health Association bringing the world together to fight blindness, hundreds of millions of people worldwide would be struggling to see an end in sight.