Global Indicators Field Testing Project to Pilot Indicators in Latin America

In May 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) World Health Assembly
(WHA) approved Resolution WHA 66/11, Universal eye health: a global
action plan 2014-2019 (hereafter referred to as the GAP). In preparation
for the year 2020, this updated GAP includes a global target to reduce
the prevalence of avoidable visual impairment by 25% by 2019 from the
2010 baseline. To measure progress made against the global target, the
WHO requires collection of 3 core indicators from member states on a
regular basis: 

 
Prevalence
of visual impairment and causes of visual impairment

Cataract surgical services: Cataract surgical rate (CSR) and Cataract
surgical coverage (CSC)

Number of eye health professionals by cadre (ophthalmologists,
optometrists and allied eye health personnel).

With less than 5 years until 2019, it is important to implement the
indicator data collection from an early stage in order to monitor the
GAP progress and identify best practices and preferred reporting
mechanisms that can be adopted across the globe. The Fred Hollows
Foundation supported Global Indicators Field Testing Project to Pilot
the WHO Global Indicators in Latin America was approved in October 2013,
with additional financial support from Orbis and IAPB for 2013-2015.
The project is managed by Strategic Solutions, Inc, in partnership with
the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and
Orbis, and with the collaboration of the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO). The core research team carrying out the project
includes: Marissa J. Carter (Strategic Solutions, Inc), Kristen Eckert
(Strategic Solutions, Inc), Van Lansingh (IAPB Latin America), Juan
Carlos Silva (PAHO), and Joan McLeod-Omawale (Orbis). The long-term goal
of this project is to formalize and implement a regional mechanism in
Latin America to collect and report eye care indicators in collaboration
with ministries of health (MoHs), national VISION 2020/prevention of
blindness committees, national professional societies, and regulatory
bodies in five countries: Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.
Important objectives include evaluating the feasibility of accurate data
collection, the reliability of the indicators, and the adequacy of the
metrics used to define the indicators, as well as barriers to obtaining
these data. The project will conclude with development of a research
protocol to implement the global indicators in other regions of the
world along with a paper presenting lessons learnt.
On March 10-12, 2014, the First Latin America Global Indicators Workshop
was organized in Lima, Peru. Twenty-three participants representing
Strategic Solutions, IAPB, Orbis, PAHO, the International Council of
Ophthalmology, the University of São Paulo-Ribeirão Preto, and the MoHs,
national societies of ophthalmology, and the national committees of
Peru, Uruguay, Honduras, Mexico, and Chile participated to gain an
understanding and awareness of the WHO global indicators related to the
prevention of blindness.
During the workshop, delegations presented on the current situation of
data collection (including successes and shortfalls) in their countries,
developed country data collection strategies, and drafted a project
work plan for implementation over the next 6-9 months. The workshop
provided participants with a special understanding of the importance of
comprehensive data collection from the public and private sector.


Key lessons learned in Lima include:

  • Inter-sectoral and inter-institutional cooperation is essential to the success of complete and accurate data collection.
    The value of this workshop was that, for the first time, it brought
    together the three stakeholders in each country that carry-out data
    collection and motivated them to work together, develop concrete work
    plans and data collection strategies, and improve the implementation of
    global indicators in their respective countries. An important outcome
    was that the concept of the National Committee was reignited in
    countries that have done without in recent years.
  • The emphasis of a complete data registry, the role of
    standardization in epidemiology and data collection, and the data
    validation process were very important lessons learned. The CSR
    reporting gold standard is defined as when every cataract surgery is
    collected by the MoH, but these numbers are difficult to obtain from
    ophthalmologists who work in private practice and are not affiliated
    with national societies.
    It is recommended to validate the
    number of cataract surgeries performed annually in each country with
    intra-ocular lens import and sales data. This will require
    inter-institutional cooperation with the ministries of economy, as well
    as industry in some cases. A pending solution is the development of
    mathematical models that can estimate private sector data, where data
    are known to be incomplete.
  • There is great variation and inconsistency from one country
    to the next on how countries organize and define a comprehensive eye
    care team of professionals. A very important lesson learned regarding
    the feasibility of data collection was the challenge of standardizing
    global indicators for the different eye health personnel cadres.

    The WHO GAP includes the core indicator number of eye care personnel,
    broken down by cadres based on the number of ophthalmologists,
    optometrists, and allied eye health personnel in each country in order
    to determine the availability and gaps of the eye health workforce. In
    Latin America, there is no standardization of optometrists and allied
    eye health personnel. Some countries do not allow optometry as a field.
    There are no criteria for ophthalmic assistants, which, in some
    countries are sometimes nurses trained by ophthalmologists on the job
    rather than having formal ophthalmic training. Minimum competency
    requirements for optometry and allied eye health personnel and Latin
    American regional certification for ophthalmologists and surgical
    training are needed in order to better measure and collect the related
    data. The lack of standardization and universal definition of eye health
    personnel is likely to be an issue also in some other regions of the
    world.
  • This project implementation, requires consistent and clear
    follow-up communications with the research team and all participants,
    coordination among the three main sectors in each country, and continued
    knowledge-sharing between all stakeholders to maintain the motivation
    from the learning of each country’s experience.
    This includes
    ongoing technical support from the research team to help provide the
    resources and tools needed to effectively carry-out data collection in
    each country and assist the governments to take further action they
    promised when they signed the WHA 66th resolution.

By the end of 2014, it is estimated the countries will complete or be close to completing Phase 2 Implementation by carrying out the actions proposed in their respective global indicator work plans to strengthen data collection. Phase 3 Data Collection will then take place during 2015 and be followed-up with Phase 4 Final Analysis and Evaluation.
A final report will be published containing summary data, lessons
learned, and best practices that can be used in the same or similar
projects in other regions of the world.

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