It is crucial to establish network with relevant governmental sectors in the project on child eye health. The goal of this project is to improve quality of life of children and learning opportunities.
Apart from improving clinical service in hospital, the strategies to achieve the goal included establishing school- and village/community- based screening and referral network, health education targeting on children, teachers and parents, early childhood education and intervention to children with visual and/or multiple disabilities.
In China, this requires engagement of a range of sectors such as health (including maternal & child health), education, disabled person’s federation (DPF), etc. We started networking with these governmental sectors before the project was formally launched. A red-headed official document was jointly issued by Provincial Bureau of Health (PBOH), Provincial Bureau of Education (PBOE), and Provincial Disabled Person’s Federation (PDPF) before the official launching of the project. The official document was forwarded by three sectors at prefecture- and county-level. The Deputy Governor who was in charge of health and education in the province attended the opening ceremony of the project. She also happily provided necessary support in coordination between PBOH and PBOE one year later.
Collaboration with the education sector at all levels worked well in terms of school screening & referral and special education while collaboration with DPF was good at provincial level but less effective at county level in some places. So it requires more efforts.
Skill trainings were provided to child eye health related professionals in these sectors, e.g. teachers in regular schools, special education teachers, staff and foster parents in social welfare institution, rehabilitation workers, etc.. Education bureau in each project area was allocated an account to access screening system to learn the progress of school screening in his/her area.
Regular project updates were provided to these sectors. We also invited them to meetings or workshops such as annual review meeting. A joint site visit to Perkins is proposed for better collaboration among hospitals and PBOE, and PDPF. We will continue to strengthen the network so that the service cycle of child eye health would function better.
Senior Program Manager
Orbis International North Asia