The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has announced “eye health” as the first of the nine research topics that will be the focus of next year’s summit. A report outlining the findings of the research will be published and presented during a panel discussion at WISH 2018, which will be held at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) on November 13th and 14th, 2018.
The announcement of eye health as a research topic was made during a visit by Her Royal Highness, Sophie, The Countess of Wessex to Sidra Medical Center. As Global Ambassador of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Her Royal Highness recently visited Bangladesh to view the work of Orbis, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that operates the world’s only accredited Flying Eye Hospital. The charity runs programs that focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of blinding eye diseases in developing countries, through hands-on training, public health education, advocacy and partnerships.
The British Royal was guided around some of the eye health facilities at Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra Medical Center by Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Al Kuwari.
During her visit to Sidra, Her Royal Highness and Her Excellency met with Sultana Afdhal, Acting CEO of WISH, to discuss the focus on eye health in next year’s summit.
Dr. Robert Walters, Orbis Trustee, who accompanied Her Royal Highness on her visit to Qatar, commented: “As an ophthalmologist I know the devastating impact a lack of access to eye care can have on people and their families. We were honored to welcome her Royal Highness to Bangladesh to witness our work, and then to Qatar to feedback on programs that are being supported by the country. Orbis is about partnership and innovation – establishing new and improved ways to train people across the world to tackle avoidable blindness, whether it be through our Flying Eye Hospital, long-term programs or online mentoring platform Cybersight. We are delighted that The World Innovation Summit for Health will be making eye health a research a priority in the lead up to WISH 2018.”
In his capacity as an Orbis trustee, Dr. Walters has volunteered to train ophthalmologists across a number of developing countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Sudan and Vietnam. He will participate in the WISH 2018 eye health research forum, which will be chaired by Professor Sir Peng T. Khaw, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, specializing in glaucoma and one of the most highly experienced specialists in the UK. He is also the Director of the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and of Research & Development at Moorfields Eye Hospital, and is the UCLPartners Academic Health Science Centre Director for Eyes & Vision. Several techniques developed by Professor Khaw for glaucoma surgery are now used worldwide.
“Vision is ranked by the public as our most precious sense. The incidence of blinding disease is rising worldwide associated with ageing populations. Research and the development of better diagnostics, therapies, and delivery pathways will be featured in the WISH 2018 Summit. These offer the prospect of improving the burden of these diseases on those affected by them”, said Professor Khaw.
WISH 2018 will gather the world’s healthcare leaders in QNCC to highlight and address some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges. Groups of experts from around the world will work together to build evidence-based research on nine topics in the months leading up to the summit and will present their findings in reports that will be published in time for the summit. These reports will be explored in depth during panel discussions at WISH 2018. The topics will be announced over the coming months and will focus on a range of medical, social, humanitarian, and policy-driven areas.
WISH 2018 will also feature an increased array of community-based events across Qatar and will present examples of healthcare innovation in action within “The WISH Hub” – an interactive space that will showcase novel healthcare products, host informal discussions, and provide hands-on experience of technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.