How to empower communities to take action on improving eye health.
Working with communities can help you as an eye care provider to identify both types of barriers and to find solutions to overcome them. Indeed, while you may know what needs to be done from the point of view of eye heath or public health, the community will help you to work out how this can be done in their particular context. In this way, you can empower the community to take action to improve their eye health by listening to their views and putting them in the driving seat. For example, early attempts to provide community-directed treatment with ivermectin in Nigeria achieved lower coverage at first, because local health workers had organised the ivermectin distribution at a time of day when the majority of workingaged adults were busy at their farms. By simply asking the community when they were more likely to be available, and changing the time of distribution accordingly, uptake improved. This article provides practical suggestions for working collaboratively with communities to improve eye health, and also briefly covers how to measure the success, or impact, of your intervention.