ICEH and Peek Vision have been awarded a major new research grant by USAID to develop a tool to improve school eye health programme planning.
The funding will enable the development of a new School Eye Health Rapid Assessment (SEHRA) tool. The aim is to help eye health providers gather the different information required to plan a school eye health programme, such as the prevalence of vision impairment in school-age children, human resource capacity, or supply chain details.
Worldwide, the number of children that have a vision impairment is unknown, partly because there are few rigorous methods for gathering population-level data on school eye health.
However, it is estimated that over a billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness. Vision problems in childhood can have a lifelong impact if left untreated, so recent decades have seen many eye health providers establish school eye health programmes to find and treat children who need eye care.
According to the study’s lead investigator Dr Priya Mojaria, Head of Global Programme Design at Peek Vision and a researcher at the International Centre for Eye Health, “Our hope is that SEHRA can solve a problem for both eye health providers and funders. Firstly, we want SEHRA to help eye health providers implement school eye health programmes that are evidence-based, meet the unmet eye health needs of children and make appropriate use of the capacity available. Secondly, we think SEHRA will also help eye health funders assess where they should invest money, so that funding is being received where it is most needed.”
“In the past few years, Peek Vision has developed evidence-based tools that are being used by our partners to identify the barriers to screening, coverage, referral adherence and treatment effectiveness,” adds Dr Andrew Bastawrous, Peek Vision CEO and also a researcher at the International Centre for Eye Health.
“We now have a much better understanding of what the barriers are, but it is evident that these are very context specific. To meet children’s eye health needs and deliver more effective programmes, we need a baseline understanding of need and a systematic analysis of patient, service and policy barriers – and that is exactly what we hope SEHRA will provide.”
The research project is expected to run for two years and is being supported by an advisory committee of individuals from leading eye health organisations. Once the initial desk-based development work is complete, the team expects to work with partners in established eye health programmes to test and develop the tool.
Peek Vision developed as a business following a research project at ICEH. ICEH and Peek have a well-established partnership collaborating on research and product development in dozens of countries. For more information on Peek click here.