Eye health – The understaffed specialists

The absence of specialists and ophthalmologists in rural areas is palpable. Efforts have been made to fill the gap.

It can be seen that specialists are still in short supply in the country. At the same time, the services dealing with this area are not sufficient”, regrets Professor Léa Raobela, President of the Association of Ophthalmologists of Madagascar, during the validation of the National Strategic Plan for eye health, the day before yesterday at the PK zero in Soarano. This insufficiency, even this shortage of human resources in terms of eye health does not allow the population in remote areas to receive adequate care. Currently, the country has only about twenty ophthalmologists and nearly forty doctors who have undergone training in eye health. Madagascar is far from the required standards in terms of specialists in this field. “In developed countries, a specialist must take care of a hundred thousand patients. In these countries, specialists are also rare”, continues Professor Raobela. The provision of eye care is therefore limited in rural areas. Furthermore, the inaccessibility to services related to eye health is also due to reasons of remoteness. Some illnesses are not treated in time. In the case of cataracts, for example, cataract surgery coverage is still limited to large urban areas. Only 10% of incident cases are operated on annually.


Efforts are being made to make up for this shortfall in numbers for specialists. “People with eye problems are numerous. We are trying to train civil servant doctors so that they can practice in this field and return to their regions of origin”, underlines the Professor. Among the points to improve in the national strategic plan for eye health, the establishment of services in rural and remote areas, but also to make services accessible to the entire population. “The important thing in the validation of the strategic plan is to improve the management of eye health. Among the objectives, it is necessary to be able to provide affordable and quality care to the population”, indicates Doctor Vincent Rakotoarisoa, National Director of the Fight against Non-communicable Diseases. The plan that aims to provide integrated and inclusive people-centred eye care as an approach to ensuring the provision of eye care as a component of universal health coverage.

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