Eye Health Systems and Universal Eye Health

Health Systems Assessment Approach

Following the model of the Health Systems Assessment (HSA) approach, over the last few years increasing efforts have been invested in exploring the relationship between the eye health system and the general health system. A general consensus is emerging in the international eye care community that the effectiveness of eye care interventions and our ability to bring about Universal Eye Health can only be improved through better understanding of how health systems function.

The HSA approach is designed to provide comprehensive assessments of health systems around WHO’s six building blocks: leadership and governance; health financing; service delivery; human resources for health; medical products, vaccines, and technologies; and health information systems.

Applications to Eye Health Systems

A consortium of eye care experts and health experts, coordinated by the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, have recently developed the Eye Health Systems Assessment (EHSA) approach as a complement to the HSA.

In parallel with the HSA approach, the EHSA approach is designed to provide a rapid and yet comprehensive assessment of the key health systems functions noted above and their interactions, as relating to the eye care system.

ICEH has developed an EHSA How-To Manual, and already published a number of EHSA country reports:

Read also the article ‘Rethinking eye health systems to achieve universal coverage: the role of research‘ by K. Blanchet, C. Gilbert and D. de Savigny for how health systems thinking can support Universal Eye Health.

The World Health Organization, thanks to support from the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, has developed Eye Care Service Assessment Tool (ECSAT), which will be useful to assess the strength of eye health systems and where investment and capacity building is most needed.

As part of its development process the ECSAT has been piloted in a small number of countries.