With some country exceptions, Sub-Saharan Africa is characterised by a lack of eye health and vision personnel and this is a significant contributing factor to the high prevalence of avoidable vision impairment and blindness. With ageing populations more disposed to sight loss and with risks such as diabetes increasing, levels of avoidable blindness in the region are likely to rise. Strategic approaches to addressing the eye health workforce crisis are now urgent and essential.
Reflecting the findings of the recent ‘Mapping Human Resources for Eye Health’ study that was conducted by the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) and African Vision Research Institute (AVRI) in 21 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from 2011-2013, this policy paper concludes that greater investment in eye health is essential with eye health workforce provision integrated into human resources for health strategies and stronger and more equitable health systems.
The Guide outlines strategies and approaches proposed by WHO that provide practical, step-by-step support to Member States in the planning and implementation of integrated people-centred eye care (IPEC).