Vision 2020 is not a new project. In fact, they’ve been an official initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and many other organizations since 1999.
“The mission of the VISION 2020 Global Initiative is to eliminate the main causes of all preventable and treatable blindness as a public health issue by the year 2020.”
Prevention of Blindness and Visual Impairment: http://www.who.int/blindness/partnerships/vision2020/en/
International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB): Vision 2020, Right to Sight: http://www.iapb.org/vision-2020
Why bring it up now? Because Elsevier’s Innovative Libraries grant program recently funded a project to expand the role of libraries in support of the Vision 2020 goals. They are doing this by funding a connection between the Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL) and the Seva Foundation. Here’s why.
“90% of the 39 million people who are blind live in the developing world. The World Health Organization estimates that eight out of every ten cases of blindness can be prevented or cured.” Seva: Programs: Sight: http://www.seva.org/site/PageServer?pagename=programs_sight
“A major challenge is access to ophthalmic information. All institutions need both information resources and staff skilled at providing access to information and training others to use these resources. Thus, resource centers and their librarians are key players in the effort to meet the goals of Vision 2020. There are also many barriers to finding and using eye care information resources in developing countries. Among them are the cost of resources, connectivity and training; lack of awareness of available resources and the skills to use them; difficulty retaining skilled librarians; and librarians who are unable to use their knowledge and skills.”
Vision librarians tackle avoidable blindness: http://elsevierconnect.com/vision-librarians-tackle-avoidable-blindness/
The need for information support, and the barriers described regarding access to health information are as true of most (if not all) other health conditions as they are of eye diseases and ophthalmologic conditions. Consider the idea of more closely connecting librarians to health information needs at all levels!
Here’s the great video explaining this program.
Solution in Sight: Eight Vision Libraries Tackle Avoidable Blindness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4mL91T7sZk
Also, keep in mind the excellent vision information resources available here on campus.
John W. Henderson Library and On-line Resources
Associate Librarian, Henderson Library
Instructor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences