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The Gambia National Eye Health Survey: exciting opportunity for ophthalmologists to participate, January – May 2019

24 October 2018

Two National Surveys of Visual Impairment and Blindness in The Gambia were undertaken in 1986 and 1996. The former of which provided baseline data for the inception of The Gambia’s National Eye Health Programme (NEHP). There have been major developments in eye health service provision in the last 20 years, whilst the population has also undergone major demographic changes. This has likely led to substantial changes in the population burden and pattern of eye disease.

In early 2019 the Gambian NEHP, supported by the International Centre for Eye Health (ICEH) at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, will be conducting a new national population-based survey of eye health, including a comprehensive ocular assessment. It will also involve screening for non-communicable diseases, other impairments and mental health. It will provide nationally-representative data to ascertain change in eye health over time and the impact of services. It will also form the baseline for a five-year follow up cohort study to measure the incidence, progression and determinants of eye disease.

There is an opportunity for ophthalmologists to participate as part of the survey teams, conducting the ocular examinations. Full training on the survey protocol will be provided in the Gambia. Following data collection, there would be opportunities to be involved in data analysis and multiple international peer-reviewed journal publications. Team training and data collection in The Gambia will take place from mid-January until the end of May 2019. The full 2019 project protocol is available on request.

The ICEH and Gambian NEHP are seeking up to three ophthalmologists to join the mobile survey teams. The project will be able to cover direct costs such as UK-Gambia return flight, insurance and accommodation (No salary is offered).

Please contact the project coordinator, Dr. Islay Mactaggart (i[email protected]) or the UK lead investigator, Prof. Matthew Burton ([email protected]) for more information if interested before 20 November 2018.

Further information on the 1986 and 1996 surveys is available in the peer-reviewed paper “Faal H, Minassian DC, Dolin PJ, et al, Evaluation of a national eye care programme: re-survey after 10 years, British Journal of Ophthalmology 2000;84:948-951.”