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Rohit Thummalapalli, Jachin Williams, Susan Forster, Kaveh Khoshnood; Improvements in Awareness and Attitudes Toward Childhood Eye Health Among Government Schoolteachers Participating in a Structured School Screening Program in Hyderabad, India. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(14):1405.
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To evaluate a population of government schoolteachers in Hyderabad, India, participating in a community intervention effort to organize eye screenings for students of ages 5 to 9, for changes in awareness and attitudes toward children’s eye health.
Prior to the program, questionnaires were administered to evaluate baseline teacher awareness of children’s eye health issues and felt responsibility for management of children’s eye health. The intervention consisted of one-hour educational training sessions at central community locations about children’s eye health and proper screening practices, followed by on-site monitoring of teacher screenings. Post-program questionnaires were then administered to evaluate for changes in awareness and attitudes.
Despite low levels of baseline awareness and responsibility, teachers demonstrated significant improvements in awareness of eye parts and functions, common childhood diseases, and local myths (p < 0.01, Figure 1) and significant increases in felt responsibility for children’s eye health (p < 0.01, Figure 2).
The reversals of low teacher awareness and responsibility over the course of short, one-month programs indicate that health intervention programs in schools can be effective and sustainable. Urban schoolteachers have been identified as promising candidates in the continued effort to eliminate avoidable childhood blindness in India.
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