by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Prevalence of blindness and visual impairment is very high in Papua New Guinea. Many have reported their cases while a majority still have not reported to the nearest eye care professionals to get help.
According to Divine Word University’s Department of Eye Care, at around 2015, an estimated 58,000 people over 50 years of age we reported as blind, with additional 10,000 cases reported every year, and others not reported.
Due to the country’s geographical setting, access and lack of proper resources are some challenges that limits the efforts of people from seeking better eye care services.
To help the eye health professionals develop an action plan, a Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness or RAAB is currently underway. RAAB is a methodology to conduct population survey. The survey will see eye care professionals collect information on;
- Prevalence of blindness and visual impairment
- The causes
- Quality of eye care services, and its output
- Cataract surgical coverage, and other indicators
The eye health professionals will not only collect data, they will also provide eye health education, free eye testing, diabetic checks and first-hand information to help those who are blind and visually impaired.
This survey will help them develop a strategic action plan to monitor existing blindness control programmes, and to adjust these programmes as, and when required.
Five teams from the four different regions in the country are being led by one ophthalmologist, a recorder, and an eye nurse to carry out the survey. The team will be at various regions and clusters at different times to carry out the RAAB.
The survey started last week, and will run through till March.
Image Source: PNG Eye care