The background to the Egyptian Menia study
We wanted to look at the factors at work behind the gender gap in relation to the uptake of eye care services and how these could be corrected. The partners involved in the research included CIDA, KCCO, the local NGO, MOH.
"Our aims were to sensitise community members about the gender gap, enabling them to identify and deal with related factors and people eligible for eye care. In turn, we wanted to assess the impact of this increased awareness on bridging the gender gap in eye health.
So what did we do?
The two villages were divided into sectors to which health workers were assigned. Following the training they were able to conduct house-to-house interaction with family members and encourage them, particularly women, to use the eye care services available in the community.
What was achieved?
Thirty five community members were trained as advocators for gender and eye health. Three local NGOs now include gender and eye care on their agendas. The increase in uptake of TT surgery by women was 10% at the central hospital and 40% at the camp site. For cataract surgery it was 5% and 30% respectively.
Overall, the work of the Al Noor-Magrabi Foundation has done a great deal towards combating needless blindness and supporting eye care services, particularly in relation to gender. Government has been encouraged to relocate ophthalmologists to more rural areas and another key to their success has clearly been the lesson that people need to be supported in seeking services. This includes issues like transport and additional capacity to cope with increased demand for services. This builds trust between communities and those providing the eye care.