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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 368

The Development of Competency-based Education for Mid-level Eye Care Professionals: A Process to Foster an Appropriate, Widely Accepted and Socially Accountable Initiative

The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, Newmarket, Auckland, NewZealand

Correspondence Address:
R du Toit
Private Bag 99909, Newmarket, Auckland 1149
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 20853239

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Introduction: The Western Pacific region has a dearth of appropriately educated eye care providers, training programs and large and increasing eye health needs. Method: To ensure regional eye health needs would be met, an iterative process sought triangulations between the literature and consultations with local stakeholders from various fields. This information was used to develop competencies to meet quality standards for educational outcomes. A framework for social accountability was used to evaluate the proposed educational initiative, and the subsequent eye care service the graduates could provide. Results: Current human resource development and deployment is inadequate to protect and restore ocular and visual health in the region. Some of these service needs could be met by task-shifting from conventional health professionals to appropriately trained mid-level personnel. A competency-based curriculum was developed to meet eye care needs and define this new cadre of mid-level professionals in relation to other professionals. This initiative met the relevance, equity, cost effectiveness and quality criteria for social accountability. Discussion: The consultative process resulted in broad acceptance of the need for an appropriately educated mid-level cadre that could be recruited, educated, deployed, supported and retained in the Western Pacific region to supplement and substitute for established eye care professionals. This process also provided validation of the initiative prior to implementation, as being appropriate to the region, meeting educational standards and social accountability criteria for outcomes. It could be replicated in other regions that wish to develop such an education for new cadres of health care professionals.

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