Evaluation of the ophthalmic community health officer (OCHO) training programme in Sierra Leone

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Main objectives

  • To map the distribution of ophthalmic community health officers (OCHO) in Sierra Leone
  • To describe how OCHOs currently operate within the eye health system in Sierra Leone
  • To describe the roles and job competencies of the various cadres providing ophthalmic care (ie. OCHOs, ophthalmic nurses, ophthalmic specialists and community health workers) in Sierra Leone to understand how they are operating in practice, and how they are perceived and perceive each other to operate
  • To ascertain whether the deployment and activities of the OCHO is in line with the objectives set out for the cadre within the framework of competencies and roles for human resources for eye health in Sierra Leone, and to identify areas where there may be divergence from those plans
  • To describe the interactions of OCHOs with the local community with regards to eye diseases and community prevention


Sierra Leone, like many other African countries, has a high number of blind people. The eye health system in Sierra Leone is very weak and not fully integrated in general health system. Blindness remains a public health concern and a driver of poverty. There are insufficient trained staff to provide eye care to the scattered populations.

To compensate for the shortages in eye health personnel, a task shifting or sharing approach was used by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and partners (Sightsavers) through the integration of primary eye care into primary health care where qualified community health officers (CHOs) were already practicing.

This study seeks to evaluate the impact of an 18-month training course in ophthalmology of CHOs on the improvement of eye health indicators in Sierra Leone.

Study details
Start date
March 2018
Finish date
August 2019
Main contact
Emma Jolley
Global Technical Lead, Health and Disability Research
  • Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation