Improving eye health using a child-to-child approach in Bariadi, Tanzania.

Ving Fai Chan, Hasan Minto, Eden Mashayo, Kovin Naidoo

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Purpose: Vision Champions (VC) are children trained to perform simple eye health screening and share eye health messages among their community. Our objectives were to assess the ability of VC in identifying and referring children and the community with refractive error and obvious ocular disease and to assess the change in knowledge and practice of eye health seeking behaviour of the community 3 months after the introduction of the Vision Champion Programme.

Methods: We purposively sampled 600 households and interviewed 1051 participants in two phases with a close-ended questionnaire. The numbers of children screened, referred by the VC and those who attended the Vision Centre were recorded. The percentage of people who answered the questions correctly were compared between Phase 1 (P1) and Phase 2 (P2).

Results: The VC shared their eye health messages with 6311 people, screened 7575 people’s vision and referred 2433 people for further care. The community were more aware that using eye ointment not prescribed by doctors (P1 = 58.96% vs. P2 = 72.75%) can lead to blindness. Participants were more aware that they should not administer eye drops in stock (P1 = 44.18% vs. P2 = 61.37%) or received from a friend or relative (P1 = 53.23% vs. P2 = 72.35%) if their eyes are red and painful.

Conclusion: Children have the potential to effectively share eye health messages and conduct simple vision screening for their families and peers. Efforts are needed to sensitise the community to improve the referral or follow-up rate.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Specialist publicationAfrican Vision and Eye Health Journal
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2017

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