Presentation Title

Visual Health Professionals in South America: Distribution and Analysis

Format

Event

Start Date

12-2-2010 12:00 AM

Abstract

Objective. This study estimates the distribution of visual health professionals (VHP) in South America, while performing a comparison between countries in the region and against statistics from Spain and the United States. An analysis of coverage and geographic distribution will reveal accessibility to vision care. Background. The World Health Organization has prioritized the elimination of avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and has targeted human resource development as a strategy. Most government databases in Latin America do not currently track VHP. Methods. Data collection consisted of 152 key informant interviews with identified experts in the public and private sector. The resulting analysis yielded an estimation of the number of professionals and their regional distribution per country by category—optometrists and opticians, ophthalmologists, and other VHP. Results. An estimated 53,582 visual health professionals (19,004 ophthalmologists, and 32,361 opticians, optometrists and other professionals) show an imbalanced geographic distribution that is disproportional to the distribution of the population. Regional coverage density averages 15 per 100,000. Conclusion. Across all VHP categories, there is lack of adequate eye care human resources. Overall, the gap between the private sector and the public sector leaves many zones without coverage, and, therefore, in a situation of social exclusion in visual health. Grants. Funding provided by Generalitat de Cataluyna, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Agencia Catalana de Cooperacio al Desenvolupament.

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Feb 12th, 12:00 AM

Visual Health Professionals in South America: Distribution and Analysis

Objective. This study estimates the distribution of visual health professionals (VHP) in South America, while performing a comparison between countries in the region and against statistics from Spain and the United States. An analysis of coverage and geographic distribution will reveal accessibility to vision care. Background. The World Health Organization has prioritized the elimination of avoidable blindness by the year 2020 and has targeted human resource development as a strategy. Most government databases in Latin America do not currently track VHP. Methods. Data collection consisted of 152 key informant interviews with identified experts in the public and private sector. The resulting analysis yielded an estimation of the number of professionals and their regional distribution per country by category—optometrists and opticians, ophthalmologists, and other VHP. Results. An estimated 53,582 visual health professionals (19,004 ophthalmologists, and 32,361 opticians, optometrists and other professionals) show an imbalanced geographic distribution that is disproportional to the distribution of the population. Regional coverage density averages 15 per 100,000. Conclusion. Across all VHP categories, there is lack of adequate eye care human resources. Overall, the gap between the private sector and the public sector leaves many zones without coverage, and, therefore, in a situation of social exclusion in visual health. Grants. Funding provided by Generalitat de Cataluyna, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Agencia Catalana de Cooperacio al Desenvolupament.