Evaluation of the Pacific Eye Institute Training Programme 2016-2021
The Pacific Eye Institute Training Programme has helped to establish a locally-led and a skilled eye care workforce in the Pacific. However, more work is needed to ensure eye care training and a skilled eye care workforce in the Pacific becomes sustainable.
The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ commissioned Future Partners Ltd, a Wellington-based consultancy firm, to undertake an evaluation of the Pacific Eye Institute (PEI) Training Programme for the 2016-2021 period.
The aim of this evaluation was to help The Foundation and its stakeholders better understand the influence of the Training Programme in enabling access to eye care training for doctors and nurses in the Pacific and establishing a skilled and sustainable local eye care workforce in the Pacific. The evaluation also looked at how the Training Programme has progressed against the relevant outcomes identified in The Foundation 2016 - 2020 Programme Strategy.
The evaluators concluded that the PEI Training Programme:
has been effective in developing and enabling access to locally-led eye care training;
has helped to establish eye health systems and is contributing to building a sustainable eye care workforce, but there are challenges (some of these are outlined above);
embedding the programme into a cultural background setting; and
is playing an important role within the community.
One of the key informants of the evaluation commented that:
“I am an example of that. Before, always had expats looking after the training programme. Also look at Tonga and Vanuatu prior to the training programme, they never had an ophthalmologist. And countries where they previously had heavy reliance on overseas eye care teams, that has changed in the Pacific. Even in Fiji, one of the divisional hospitals used to be led by expats only, that has decreased over the years. That’s a testament to how the training programme is helping to change that landscape.”
However, more work is needed to ensure PEI eye care training and local eye health workforce become sustainable. This is due to issues such as the lack of formal recognition of the ophthalmic nursing scope as a specialisation; COVID-19’s impact on Pacific governments’ MoH budgets; and immigration of trained nurses due to the demand from Australia and New Zealand.