Rapid assessment for avoidable blindness in the Eastern Cape
30 Jun 2009
The Eastern Cape Department of Health in partnership with the Fred Hollows Foundation South Africa took further strides in dealing with the eye illnesses.
Starting from 22 to 24 June 2009 at Queenstown Health Resource Centre healthcare workers from various disciplines related to eye care gathered to being capacitated by Dr Shamanna Bindinganavale, an ophthalmologist and Rapid Assessment for Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) consultant from India who is one of the first group of eleven that are licensed nationwide to carry out the Rapid Assessment for Avoidable Blindness that they were preparing to undergo after being skilled.
The survey’s aims and objectives are to know the magnitude and causes of avoidable blindness in the Eastern Cape province for planning and monitoring eye care services and programmes and to optimise the use of limited resources for data collection, data entry and analysis through the use of a simplified but valid survey methodology and specially developed software package.
The programme is aimed at achieving 20:20 vision - the right to sight, an initiative of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the elimination of blindness by the year 2020 that was launched in 1999. It also aims at contributing towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
In this partnership with the Eastern Cape Department of Health the Fred Hollows Foundation is committed to facilitate increased access to the poor and marginalised communities of the province, quality eye care services through strengthening public health sector delivery systems which aimed at providing comprehensive eye care. The program also plans to do this by:
* supporting the development of best practice eye care centres
* facilitating access through outreach services
* operations research and advocacy
* meaningful use of data collection tools to monitor impact
* being practical, effective and sustainable in provision of quality services.
The Rapid Assessment for Avoidable Blindness is planned as the initial step to develop concrete plans of action. Dr Thobeka Thanga, the Programme Manager for the Fred Hollows Foundation, said as the eye conditions are common to people 50 years and above, the study will focus on that age group.
The Eastern Cape is the first province in South Africa to undergo this kind of research and there are other provinces that already show interest on this study i.e. the North West and Limpopo, said Dr Thanga. The pilot study or sampling was conducted on 25 June 2009 at Chris Hani District in Queenstown in three wards.
Issued by: Department of Health, Eastern Cape Provincial Government
30 June 2009
Source: Department of Health, Eastern Cape Provincial Government (http://www.ecdoh.gov.za/)
Issued by: Eastern Cape Provincial Government
30 Jun 2009
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