International Capacity Building
Certified Ophthalmic Paramedic Program (COP)
The shortage of trained eye care professionals is one of the major obstacles facing eye care programs and global health worldwide but nowhere more so than in the developing world – particularly those programs devotedly treating the rural poor.
India is home to one-third of the world’s 36 million blind people. The largest barrier to the majority of these 12 million blind individuals regaining their sight is the shortage of trained eye care personnel to screen and treat them. Working with local partners in India, CBI supports the training of young women to become Certified Ophthalmic Paramedics and educating them to become strong, empowered women.
These mid-level professionals are able to perform some of the same functions of traditional ophthalmologists, allowing these young women to fulfill a variety of vital roles; including ophthalmic nursing assistants, vision technicians, medical records and registration or patient counseling — in just 2 years of school. The Certified Ophthalmic Paramedics reduce the strain on the ophthalmologists so they can focus on sight-restoring procedures and surgeries.
CBI’s role in this program is to provide stipends for the students. The stipends reduce the strain on their families and allow them to focus on their studies. For less than a dollar per day these living stipends give these young women the economic independence to fully pursue their education.
Ophthalmologist Training Program
We work with our partners around the world to provide training for ophthalmologists. Through short-term fellowships and hands-on clinical and surgical training, we are building the skills and knowledge of the next generation of ophthalmologists so they may better care for their communities.
Women Empowered with Technical Training
6 Fellows Supported from Brazil and India
Eye Care Professionals
Ophthalmic Paramedics fulfill a variety of roles such as vision screeners, surgical assistants, record keepers, nurses, and more. This increases the number of patients reached and quality of care, while allowing ophthalmologists to focus on performing eye surgery.
Access to Care
By educating and increasing eye care personnel, we make eye care more accessible to marginalized portions of the population including the urban, the rural, the poor, women and children.
Globally there is a shortage of ophthalmologists. In Africa, there is approximately 1 ophthalmologist per million people. Working to increase the number of ophthalmologists increases the number of patients that can be seen.