Original Research

Eye health promotion in the South African primary health care system*

H. L. Sithole, O. A. Oduntan
African Vision and Eye Health | South African Optometrist: Vol 69, No 4 | a144 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aveh.v69i4.144 | © 2010 H. L. Sithole, O. A. Oduntan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2010 | Published: 12 December 2010

About the author(s)

H. L. Sithole, University of South Africa, Academic and Research Portfolio, Research Directorate, South Africa
O. A. Oduntan, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Faculty of Health Sciences, Discipline of Optometry, South Africa

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Abstract

Objective: There is currently very little or no research being done in South Africa on eye health promotion. Also, there is no evidence of any existing eye health promotion policy in the South African primary health care system. The purpose of this paper therefore is to highlight the lack of an integrated eye health promotion policy in the South African primary health care system.

Approach: A literature review of research databases was conducted to identify research done in the previous years pertinent to eye health promotion in South Africa. Also, documents were requested from the South African National Department of Health to ascertain claims of any existing guidelines on eye care. It was found that these documents included the national guidelines on prevention of blindness, refractive error screening for persons 60 years and older, cataract surgery in South Africa, management and control of eye conditions at primary level.Although there is currently no integrated eye health promotion policy in South Africa, the fragmented national guidelines represent the existing policies on eye health promotion.  The custodians of these policies are the eye care coordinators located in each of the nine provinces.

Conclusion: Although there are eye care coordinators in each province, there is no evidence of any eye health promotion activities being done in those provinces. Also, only one province out of nine has dedicated health promotion personnel that are not
only focusing on eye health matters. This greatly compromises the initiatives of eliminating avoidable blindness. It is therefore recommended that an integrated eye health promotion model be developed so that it may form part of the South African primary health care system. (S Afr Optom 201069(4) 200-206)


Keywords

Health promotion; health policies; eye health in South Africa

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