WHO Afro has released the Core competencies for the Eye Health Workforce in the WHO African region.
The majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are facing a severe crisis of skilled health workforce shortages that could impede the realization of Universal Health Coverage, especially in specialized fields such as eye health. This policy document is a step towards improvement of the quality of eye health care. It describes the development of core competencies for the cadres that constitute the professional eye health team.
In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 3.6 million persons are blind, 17.4 million have moderate and severe visual impairment, and 100 million have near vision impairment. Visual impairment does not only impact negatively a person’s quality of life but also the national and regional economy. The majority of people who are visually impaired are over 50 years old and many live in rural areas. This places a huge burden on the WHO African Region that already has a myriad of challenges compounding this shortage of skilled eye health providers. What is worse, the distribution of available eye health providers is skewed, with most of them deployed in the urban areas.