Andrew Bastawrous and Hillary Rono meeting with Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Credit: The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust
I was asked recently in an interview if I take time to reflect on how far we’ve come. Honestly, given how big the problem is we are trying to play a part in solving it’s not easy to stop and reflect. The end of this year was one of those rare moments when there was a chance to pause and be grateful for the journey we’ve been on and the lives we’ve impacted so far. In late October, myself and Dr Rono were fortunate to attend an event hosted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, honouring the amazing work of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and the organisations (like us) they have supported. It provided the perfect opportunity to pause, take in the moment and look back on what has been an incredible year.
Having begun with an idea almost a decade ago, I now look around me to find the most brilliant, talented and mission driven team I could wish for. Our strength comes from our diversity of backgrounds, cultures, professions and experiences. It has become a unique melting pot of passionate team members working towards a common goal. Our team has expanded to 36 people with plans to recruit more this year.
Together, this team is doing extraordinary things; from the great strides we have seen in our programmes in Pakistan & Zimbabwe, to the exciting prospects of new partnerships across the globe. Every one of these programmes has the potential to transform thousands of lives for the better. This year we have really seen that transformation start to take place.
We are seeing the transformative power of health systems change through collaboration, technology and good data. Most importantly we are seeing the lives of people being changed who are finally accessing eye health services that were previously out of reach. We are working to provide our partners with the tools to achieve 100% eye health coverage, a pivotal step in integrating eye health as a key facet of universal health care. In doing so, we continue in our collective mission to make the invisible visible and ensure no-one is left behind.
2020 is a year for the whole eye health sector to reflect on the success of the last generation of work, but as we look ahead, the problems are growing and the urgency is rising. The number of people with avoidable blindness and vision loss is set to triple in the next 30 years. More than ever, we need to be ambitious with our goals and courageous in our efforts to meet them. People are waiting.
Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to continuing to share the journey with you this year.
Andrew and all the team at Peek
: Dr Andrew Bastawrous is CEO and co-Founder of Peek Vision, and Associate Professor of International Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He has worked and undertaken research in over twenty countries, including two years living in Kenya where he led a major eye disease study and the development and testing of Peek.