Case Report

Professional collaboration for vision and healthcare in Cameroon

Marvice Okwen, Josiane Signe, Soh M. Macpella, Louis Mbibeh, Lynn Cockburn
African Vision and Eye Health | Vol 77, No 1 | a434 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v77i1.434 | © 2018 Okwen Marvice, Josiane Signe, Soh M. Macpella, Louis Mbibeh, Lynn Cockburn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 October 2017 | Published: 29 November 2018

About the author(s)

Marvice Okwen, Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Bamenda, Cameroon
Josiane Signe, Magrabi International Council of Ophthalmology Cameroon Eye Centre, Okala, Cameroon
Soh M. Macpella, Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Bamenda, Cameroon
Louis Mbibeh, Private, Mbingo, Cameroon; and, Cameroon Christian University, Bamenda, Cameroon
Lynn Cockburn, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada


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Abstract

Professional collaboration is challenging when resources are minimal and communication is compromised, as is the case in many parts of Africa. In this article, a group of health professionals from the North-West Region of Cameroon report on efforts to improve within-profession, interprofessional and interorganisational collaboration in eye care services. The article describes what collaboration is in healthcare and how it benefits patients, professionals and health systems, using eye and vision care services as an example. Obstacles such as the absence of a coordinated eye care system and the lack of institutional support are described. Seven successful strategies to promote collaboration in this context are identified, and their applications in this context are described. These strategies are as follows: being committed to collaboration; being client-focused; supporting interprofessional and continuing education; embracing new technologies; building relationships between professional groups; building relationships with organisational administrators; and building relationships in healthcare systems. Three additional aspirational strategies are: developing regional healthcare programmes; developing professional and continuing education programmes; and developing collaborative patient and public education. By providing this open report, the authors aim to stimulate discussion about how collaboration and cooperation improve quality healthcare services and support professional career development.

Keywords

Collaboration; health systems; teamwork

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