Access to school-based eye health programs: a qualitative case study, Bogotá, Colombia

Aryati Yashadhana, Nina Serova, Ling Lee, Luisa Casas Luque, Leonardo Ramirez, Juan Carlos Silva, Anthea M Burnett
2021 Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública  
Objectives. To identify barriers and enablers to accessing school-based eye health programs in Bogotá, Colombia. Methods. We undertook a qualitative case study that explored how structural factors, and social and cultural norms influence access to school-based eye health programs. We conducted focus groups discussions and interviews with a purposive sample of 37 participants: government stakeholders (n = 4), representatives from nongovernmental organizations (n = 3), and an eye-care
more » ... , as well as teachers (n = 7), a school nurse, parents (n = 7), and children (n = 14) from private and public schools. Data were analyzed using a priori themes from the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality framework. Results. Routine vision screening in schools is not currently provided nor is there a budget to support it. Lack of collaboration between the health and education ministries and the absence of national planning affected the delivery of eye care in schools. Factors related to acceptability of school-based eye health programs included: poor acceptance of training teachers as vision screeners; stigma related to wearing spectacles; and distrust of health services. The cost of spectacles and poor access to eye health information were identified as barriers to positive child eye health outcomes by socioeconomically disadvantaged parents and children. Conclusion. Our findings suggest the need for a national school eye health plan and improved cooperation between health and education ministries. Interventions to improve trust in health services, tackle the lack of human resources while respecting professional qualifications, and raise awareness of the importance of eye health are recommended.
doi:10.26633/rpsp.2021.154 pmid:34934416 pmcid:PMC8678101 fatcat:7gdd4jz5nbdnpergfgt7ayrlzu