Roles of the Eye Care Workforce for Task Sharing in Management of Diabetic Retinopathy in Cambodia

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This article was originally published as:

Shah, M., Ormsby, G. M., Noor, A., Chakrabarti, R., Morchen, M., Amirul Islam, F. M., … Keeffe, J. E. (2018). Roles of the eye care workforce for task sharing in management of diabetic retinopathy in Cambodia. International Journal of Ophthalmology, 11(1), 101-107. doi: 10.18240/ijo.2018.01.18

ISSN: 2227-4898


111301 Ophthalmology| 111399 Optometry and Ophthalmology not elsewhere classified| 111717 Primary Health Care

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Purpose: The shortage of ophthalmologists in many countries is a major barrier to timely provision of eye care. A team work approach to screen, detect and manage diabetic retinopathy (DR) could achieve greater screening coverage of people with diabetes to prevent vision loss. This study aimed to assess the attitudes and perceptions of eye care workers and health administrators regarding task sharing for management of DR.

Methods: Using purposive sampling, 121 eye and health care workers in five selected hospitals in two provinces in Pakistan were recruited. A cross-sectional survey explored the possibility for involvement of optometrists and mid-level eye care workers to share tasks with ophthalmologists for DR management and the potential outcomes of task sharing, through multiple choice and open-ended questions.

Results: Ninety-six (79%) participants–doctors (n = 56), optometrists (n = 29) and mid-level eye care workers (n = 11) responded to the survey. All participants supported task sharing in screening and detection for management of DR. There was no significant difference among the groups with respect to their positive attitude towards task sharing (p = 0.22). The majority in each group believed that the task sharing would not degrade the quality of care (p = 0.48). Two potential major outcomes of task sharing in the eye care system included the benefits for people with diabetes and potential DR and the strengthening of the health care system.

Conclusion: Task sharing among various cadres of eye care workers has the potential to improve screening coverage of people with diabetes to prevent visual loss from DR.


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