11th August 2017, Volume 130 Number 1460

Julie Brûlé, Benoit Tousignant, Graeme Nicholls, Matthew G Pearce

Blindness and visual impairment are significant public health concerns, impacting quality of life1 and carrying economic consequences:2 an estimated 285 million are visually impaired worldwide, of whom 39 million are…

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Training eye care workers to alleviate the burden of blindness and vision impairment in an under-resourced area is not enough: once trained, the workers need to be integrated and retained in their country’s workforce. Their competencies must be upheld, and they need to be introduced to new skills and knowledge. A workforce support programme that addresses all those needs is a powerful tool to improve the delivery of eye care services.


To alleviate the significant burden of vision impairment and blindness in low-resource settings, addressing the shortage in human resources in eye care is one of the fundamental strategies. With its postgraduate training programmes, The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand (FHFNZ) aims to increase workforce capacity in the Pacific Island countries and territories and Papua New Guinea. This paper presents an in-country model to offer support to graduates, an essential element to retain them in the workforce and ensure they are able to perform the tasks they were trained to do. FHFNZ has designed a workforce support programme employing a standardised process, allowing comparable reporting and providing data for FHFNZ to evaluate its training programmes, outputs as well as professional recognition and integration in the workplace.

Author Information

Julie Brûlé, École d’optométrie, Université de Montréal, Canada; Benoit Tousignant, École d’optométrie, Université de Montréal, Canada; Graeme Nicholls, The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand, Auckland; Matthew G Pearce, Northwest Permanente, PC.


Julie Brûlé, École d’optométrie, Université de Montréal, 3744 rue Jean-Brillant, Bureau 190-71, Montréal, Qnébec, Canada.

Correspondence Email


Competing Interests

Dr Nicholls reports affiliation with The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ during the conduct of the study.


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