Primary eye care in India - The vision center model.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan (GAP) 2014-19 emphasize providing Comprehensive Eye Care (CEC) using the health system approach to achieve Universal Eye Health Coverage (UEHC). An important aspect of CEC is Primary Eye Care (PEC). The scope of PEC varies significantly with primary health workers providing PEC in most parts of the developing world, whereas in developed nations PEC is provided by specialized personnel such as optometrists. This article focuses on delivery of PEC models in India, specifically through the vision center (VC) approach. VCs are part of a larger eye care network and provide PEC in remote rural areas of the country. The authors describe the how PEC is delivered in more than 300 VCs operated by six mentor hospitals in India under the Global Sight Initiative (GSI). Key factors compared include: The role of leadership; human resource planning, including recruitment and retention; service delivery; leveraging technology for planning and reaching key populations; financial sustainability; supply chain management; and quality and monitoring. It also discusses issues to be considered to strengthen VCs as we move ahead towards our collective goal of achieving UEHC and eliminating avoidable blindness.