Blog from Dr Priya Morjaria: Co-Lead Educator for Global Blindness: Planning for Eye Care Services MOOC

School children in India

Dr Priya Morjaria, Co-Lead Educator

For the past 3 years, I have been working on my PhD at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The focus of my work was ‘Evidence to improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of School Eye Health Programmes’.  The work has taken me all over the world, from Botswana to Malawi to Nepal to the Philippines and China to get an understanding of school eye health programmes. I undertook two clinical trials in India both with the primary outcome of increasing spectacle compliance. While there were many lessons and the process of setting up the two trials brought not only academic learning, but also experiences, that have helped to understand the reality of setting up a comprehensive school eye health programme. And their impact on the lives of children.

A very vivid memory I have from my time spent screening in the schools in India was of a child who had her first vision check at the age of 12. She had stopped coming to school regularly for the past few years and was in the day we were screening vision to identify those children that had a visual impairment. She was seeing less than 6/120 in both eyes. We refracted her and her vision improved to 6/9. She had not used spectacles previously and was overwhelmed with her clear vision. I am convinced my experience is not unique and there are many who work in eye care who have such stories to share and are affected by these incidents. It reminds us the importance of school eye health programmes and the need to implement programmes in a systematic way.

Setting up a comprehensive school eye health programmes does not end with screening and diagnosing. It is crucial that treatment and follow-up of adherence to treatment is a part of the programme. Hence, every programme should include monitoring and evaluation and this aspect be budgeted for.

This course will give an overview of the principles in planning and managing an eye care programme and how the different principles can be applied to different eye conditions. It is a brilliant course for both those who are new to the field of eye care and to those who already work in eye care and want to refresh their skills and knowledge base.

I look forward to interacting with all of you on the course and am excited to be a co-educator. I did my MSc in Public Health for Eye Care at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and continued as a researcher at the school, working on various projects in global eye health. I recently completed my PhD at the school and was on of the first cohorts to do the Global Blindness course on FutureLearn and it is very exciting to be a co-educator on it now.

On Monday 3 September 2018 – join Dr Priya Morjaria and take the course! Register here: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/global-blindness

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