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B. D. Moore, J. Leasher, A. Rius, N. Colome, A. Villalobos; Project VERAS - Piloting Cooperation Toward Development in Vision Care in Central America. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):3135.
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To evaluate the feasibility of multi-institutional collaborations across regional, national, district and local levels in the provision of eye care for young school children.
A strict scientific protocol was developed based on findings from the Vision In Preschoolers Study. Public-private partnerships were formed, trainers conducted capacity building sessions, and international experts trained national leaders who trained district and local level health promoters and school teachers to provide school based vision screenings utilizing a specially designed Lea Symbol test (the VERAS cards). Health promotion and awareness activities were conducted with parents, communities, and schools. An ophthalmic lane was installed in the district hospital and an optometrist and ophthalmologist assigned to examine and treat children.
Inter-ministry, inter-disciplinary, multi-institutional public/private collaboration was feasible and successful. Phase two of scaling up the project and replicating the protocol in other countries has commenced.
In order to achieve sustainable results in vision care interventions, cooperation for development techniques must be applied and collaborative governmental and non-governmental coalitions must be established to achieve goals.
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