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Mixed methods evaluation of a primary eye care training programme for primary health workers in Morogoro Tanzania.

Mafwiri, Milka Madaha; Jolley, Emma; Hunter, Joanna; Gilbert, Clare Elizabeth; Schmidt, Elena.
BMC Nurs; 15: 41, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | Jul 2016 | ID: mdl-27390550
Resumo: BACKGROUND: There are 285 million people with visual impairment (VI) worldwide including 39 million who are blind; 15 % of those with VI live in Africa, and around 80 % of VI is preventable or treatable with the right equipment, information and skills. The scarcity of human resources for eye health, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, is a key challenge towards achieving this goal. Therefore training primary health workers (PHW) in providing eye-care services has been seen by some authors as a way to improve access to eye-care services in remote communities. However, the package of interventions which could be effectively delivered for eye-care at the primary-care level or the set of skills and competencies that PHWs need has not yet been delineated. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a four day training programme of PHWs in primary eye-care conducted in Morogoro, Tanzania in 2010/2011. METHODS: A mixed methods study using pre- and immediate post-training knowledge assessment of 60 trainees, and in-depth face to face interviews with 20 PHWs and 8 service managers 2 to 3 years after the training. RESULTS: Pre-and immediate post-training assessments indicated improvement in health worker knowledge about eye-care in the short term. Qualitative investigations 2 to 3 years after the training showed that although staff could make the correct management decisions when presented with eye-health problems, they often could not make a correct diagnosis. PHWs and managers reported satisfaction with the content of the training but some of the less well qualified staff found it overwhelming. Theoretical teaching was appreciated by most participants but almost all suggested increasing the time spent on acquiring skills. The training manual was accepted by many and some improvements were recommended. All interviewed PHWs were keen to improve their skills and knowledge. Acquired skills and knowledge were used for identification, referral of patients and for eye-health promotion. CONCLUSION: The training program in Morogoro was considered by PHWs as broadly successful and satisfying in terms of content, methods and duration of training. However, any future programme needs to be considered within the context of strengthening wider health systems.