Many blinding eye conditions of childhood are preventable or treatable, particularly in developing countries. However, primary eye care (PEC) for children is poorly developed, leading to unnecessary visual loss. Activities for control by health workers entail interventions for systemic conditions (measles, vitamin A deficiency), identification and referral of children with sight threatening conditions and health education for caregivers.
An innovative pilot study set out to evaluate the incorporation of a package of activities to promote child eye health into reproductive and child health services in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
This new paper, by Clare Gilbert and colleagues and published in BMC Nursing, discusses the study findings that primary eye care for children in Dar-es-Salaam is inadequate but training RCH staff can improve knowledge in the short term and change practices. Attendance by mothers and their children is high in RCH clinics, making them ideal for delivery of PEC. Ongoing supportive supervision is required to maintain knowledge and practices, as well as systems to track referrals.