17 February 2012
At its 130th session which took place in January 2012, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Executive Board agreed to maintain the World Council of Optometry (WCO) in official relations for a further three year term as part of its Civil Society initiative. This prestigious status was first granted to WCO in 2006, and renewed in 2009. In making its decision, the Board commended WCO’s continuing dedication in support of the work of WHO.
Mrs Tone Garaas-Maurdalen, WCO President, welcomed the announcement commenting: “We are delighted to receive confirmation of our continued official relations with WHO. This important status enables us to work collaboratively with many partners across the globe to enhance and develop eye and vision care worldwide. It is also recognition of the role optometry plays in the provision of primary eye care, and in particular, the prevention of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.”
A mutually agreed three-year plan for collaboration forms the basis of an official relationship with WHO. This is being finalised, but once agreed will set out how WCO will help countries to develop and implement comprehensive national plans for the prevention of visual impairment, including blindness.
Mrs Tone Garaas-Maurdalen continued, “We take enormous pride in being among the select group of organisations in official relations with WHO. We look forward to continuing work with them on such important projects and supporting our members around the world in achievement of the Vision 2020 objectives.”
WCO is one of only 182 nongovernmental organisations worldwide to currently be in official relations with WHO, and is the first and only optometric organisation to have this designation.
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