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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Public health approaches in addressing refractive errors

Jerry Vincent, OD MPH, Health Unit, International Rescue Committee, PO Box 213, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, 50202, Thailand, (66) 53-806-735, irceye@loxinfo.co.th

Five hundred million people need eyeglasses and donít have them. With projected population growth, this number will double in the next 20 years. One popular sight-saving intervention among volunteer service organizations is to send eye professionals with donated eyeglasses to developing countries on short missions to provide clinical services. Combined, these missions are providing eyeglasses for up to 500,000 people each year - an output that addresses only 0.1% of the unmet need.

Adapting public health approaches will enable these organizations to dramatically increase their program effectiveness and output while developing local capacities in a sustainable way. These approaches should include:

1. Using need-based criteria to target programs more efficiently. For example Ė communities where less than 1/3 of adults over 45 have reading glasses or where presenting vision is less than 6/18 in 3% or more of the population.

2. Training local counterparts to do basic subjective refractions. Each volunteer eye professional training 5 counterparts would greatly increase the local capacity to provide refraction services. Training of trainers would increase this capacity even more.

3. Purchasing ready-made spherical eyeglasses locally. This offers a cost effective, logistically efficient and more sustainable alternative to shipping donated eyeglasses. Incorporated cost recovery schemes into these programs will further enhance sustainability.

4. Evaluating and disseminating program results. Illustrating both successes and failures will provide the opportunity for other to benefit from lessons learned.

By using these approaches, a larger contribution will be made in addressing unmet refractive error needs.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Vision Care, Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Teaching Public Health to the Health Care Professions (organized jointly by VC, CHC, PHC)

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA