VAO is committed to a health system strengthening approach that includes the integration of eye health at all levels of the health care pyramid, including at primary level.

What is the health care pyramid and its levels?

Primary level health care refers to services that a person usually first sees when they have a health problem, for example presenting to a Community Health Worker, or at a health centre within or close to their community. A patient may then be referred upwards to secondary services, such as a district hospital or clinic, and on again to tertiary services, such as a national hospital or to specialist services.

What is Primary Eye Care?

Primary Eye Care is the eye health component of primary health care (PHC).

To enable access to quality eye health for all, the World health Organization designed ‘Universal eye health: a global action plan 2014–2019 (GAP)’, to support “the integration of eye care into the health care system” and specifically, “the inclusion of “primary eye care” (PEC) into primary health care”.

Read more about Primary Eye Care and developing the capacity to provide eye health on the IAPB website

How is VAO working to improve PEC?

VAO establishes a robust eye health screening system at the primary level.

We use the WHO PEC training manual which has been specifically designed to strengthen the capacity of health personnel to manage eye patients at primary-level health facilities in the African Region. 

Patients who are screened at the primary health centre can be treated for minor problems or referred to a secondary facility if there is need further examination and treatment.

We also enable people to act to improve their own eye health. We do this by developing targeted social behaviour change communications that improve people’s knowledge of basic eye health issues, especially the importance and correct use of glasses. And we increase people’s awareness of the eye health services available to their community.

Where do we do it?

VAO is delivering a Primary Eye Care programme in Sierra Leone and we will start a new PEC programme in Zambia later in 2020.