In just 12 months, lockdowns, self-isolation, social distancing, sanitiser and face masks have become the new normal, health systems have been disrupted, providing safe services has taken on new meaning and new challenges are still emerging in delivering eye care services.
Every country, every city and every town are facing similar yet different disruptions and challenges to eye care services. Acknowledging that every situation is different the IAPB COVID-19 Taskforce service delivery group, made up of a wide range of IAPB members from a variety of countries and backgrounds, set out to work together to produce useful guidance and support that can be used across the sector during this challenging period.
A set of guiding principles were developed to steer service providers as they looked to restart or continue services, with many facing reduced personnel and/or funding to deliver services. Dr Victor Hu, lead author of the guidelines commented “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought great challenges to effective eye care delivery. These guiding principles have been carefully thought through to help eye health service providers in responding to these challenges. It’s important that we continue providing the best care possible for patients and help reduce avoidable vision loss.”
The five principles are:
- Eye care remains essential during COVID-19 and beyond
- Protect patients, staff and visitors
- Consider vulnerable groups
- Maintain a person-centred approach
- Share innovations & best practice
A full description of each of the principles can be found on the IAPB website
To enable the sharing of best practice and innovations as they emerge during the pandemic, an online resource repository has been compiled to support service delivery providers. Over 90 resources have been added under categories: Primary eye care, Infection control, surgery, teaching & training and ophthalmology.
Dr Lila Puri, lead curator of the resource repository “The repository is intended to provide a one stop resource related to various aspects of eye care services. There are clinical guidelines, protocols, studies from various organizations, institutes, national societies, and public health organizations. The effort has been made to collate the resources and disseminate through IAPB so that it can be reached to maximum audiences and stakeholders. We would like to emphasize that it is not the final collection, as we have seen that with the vaccination roll out the scenario is evolving. Although there are several resources available, we hope this repository will serve as an easy access platform.”
The repository will be revised and added to periodically and we welcome any resources, please send to [email protected].