The establishment of the Community Eye Health Institute was the result of the combination of the earlier activities of the Division of Ophthalmology of the University of Cape Town, which had been delivering been delivering training programmes in Community Eye Health since 2005. This has been in the form of an 8 week Certificate Course in Community Eye Health (in collaboration with ICEH) and a 3 day Community Eye health workshop for Ophthalmology Registrars.
CEHI has started with a concise, optimally functioning team who work together to build the foundations of the Institute. Initially a small portfolio of capacity building activities, broadly categorised under education, research and programme development is offered. A brief outline of the activities planned appears in the table below.
|Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma in Community Eye Health (PgDip CEH), Programme management short courses (PMSCs), cataract surgical training network, mid-level eye care worker training, including ophthalmic assistant course and associated curriculum development activities||Operations research including modelling glaucoma as a CEH intervention for Vision 2020, the Whole School Eye Health project, supporting clinical research projects in the Ophthalmology Department and conducting Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) surveys in district eye care programmes||Advocacy for integrated and sustainable eye care programmes, conduct of programme evaluations and audits, planning and support of Vision 2020 surgical centres in urban settings and promoting and supporting the establishment of Vision 2020 management committees|
These programmes will essentially be driven by the needs of the communities we aim to serve and be integrated into the local public health systems. We intend to be actively and centrally involved in generating standards for quality, efficiency and effectiveness of capacity developing initiatives in community eye health in our operating environment. In order to meet these objectives we need to be able to offer relevant and accessible programmes.
We have direct access to the University's teaching and academic resources, therefore we should be able to generate a modest graduate/publication output in a relatively short time period.
Key priorities for the next three years
- to develop and offer a one year post-graduate diploma in Community Eye Health on an annual basis from year two
- to develop and offer at least one outcomes-specific certificate course to be run twice annually from year two
- to develop and improve at least one existing eye care programme per annum according to the specifications of the Vision 2020: Right to Sight initiative
- to initiate and implement at least one new eye care programme per annum according to the specifications of the Vision 2020: Right to Sight initiative
- to develop, promote and deliver a comprehensive training and support programme for district Vision 2020 management committees to assist with advocacy and capacity development in local programme management
- to encourage and support the implementation and completion of at least four research projects in the Ophthalmology division each year, and to facilitate the publication of the findings in a peer-reviewed journal
- to conceive and design at least one community based eye care research project leading to one or more masters or doctorate level qualifications per year
- to develop and improve the monitoring systems of at least one public health eye care programme to assist in developing internal capacity in programme management
- to design and implement evaluation protocols for eye care services, training and research programmes in the public sector, to assist in developing internal capacity in programme management
- to develop and produce print and electronic materials for use in support of community eye care services, training or research, and develop and implement promotion and distribution systems through direct delivery, newsletter, or presentations at conferences and papers in journals
Strategically, all initiatives in which the Community Eye Health Institute will become involved in should have the following attributes: quality, sustainability, relevance, participation, and dynamic impact. Hence, the key outputs of the institute will include:
- A growing number of academic programmes made accessible and suitable for identified target market
- An increase in well-resourced and efficient eye care programmes, capable of meeting the objectives of the Vision 2020: Right to Sight initiative
- Regular completion and publication of research projects, with a growing competency in research methodology in the Division
- Industry recognized and applied guidelines for monitoring and evaluation of community eye health programmes, which can be extended to other areas of public health
The aims and objectives of the institute, while embracing the ethos and character of the University, will be adhered to, guided by the following principles:
- that the overall sustainability of all initiatives will be aspired to at all times
- that the activities, outputs and outcomes will be the result of teamwork, involving all participants across all functional and institutional boundaries
- that the criteria used to become involved in and participate in activities centre around the direct needs of the beneficiaries
- that the products of the different activities bear the mark of excellence
- that conscious striving towards sectoral and institutional integration will take place at all times
- that the benefits of constructive participation and inclusion are capitalized
- that the inputs, whether through clinical service or research, will be delivered equitably and in recognition of the responsibilities of staff
- that the minimum requirements will be adhered to in order to maintain the standards of eye health care (registration), research (good clinical practice), and eye health education (certification)