The VISION 2020 Links Programme originated as part of the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight Initiative and more specifically through the VISION 2020 UK International Board. In 2004, the VISION 2020 UK International Board approached IAPB member, the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to implement the VISION 2020 Link Programme.
How It Works
The Links Programme works with overseas partner institutions (mainly in Africa, where there is less than 1-2 ophthalmologists per million population) to identify their main needs and priorities and then match those requirements with a suitable UK training eye unit.
It is an initiative to give teaching eye institutions in low income countries the skills and resources to develop high quality programmes (including training) for eye care professionals (doctors, nurses and paramedical staff).
The International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) promotes the development of links by acting as a resource and networking centre for existing Links and facilitates the development of new ophthalmic Links within NHS hospitals. A database of interested UK ophthalmologists and their departments/institutions has been set up to aid the matching process.
The VISION 2020 Links Programme has a defined needs assessment process which helps to establish a foundation for sustainable partnerships between teaching institutions in developing countries and partner eye hospitals in the UK.
The VISION 2020 Links programme will endeavour to:
- help the overseas partners to identify their priority needs for eye care training
- match them with the most appropriate UK institution and facilitate the process
- look for some assistance with ‘seed money’ for the needs assessment process
- organise orientation visits by key members of staff, UK to Africa and Africa to UK
- establish the Steering Groups for both partners – share information together
- facilitate joint discussion and agreement of the goals and objectives
- impact assessment measures in place from early on in the link to measure progress
- monitor and report to the V2020 Links steering committee on the Links as they develop
Marcia Zondervan, VISION 2020 Links Programme Manager
Nick Astbury, RCOphth Links Advisor
Claire Walker, Funding Advisor