April 10, 2014
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Underdeveloped regions need area-specific health care plans, market regulations

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TOKYO — Underdeveloped regions of the world need eye care professionals, such as technicians, nurses and other non-medical staff, who specialize in specific areas and train in specific activities to address needs, according to one speaker.

“It takes too much time and resources to train and specialize ophthalmologists who will then be able, for lack of structural resources and the type of services that are mostly needed, to use a minimal part of their skills and knowledge. Ophthalmologists are overqualified for certain tasks, and there are countries that just cannot afford that,” Rubens Belfort, MD, PhD, said at the World Ophthalmology Congress.

Rubens Belfort

He also said that industries should apply reduced prices for selling equipment in underdeveloped areas of the world or produce instruments that are “good, reliable and advanced, but affordable.”

“The needs are great, and the potential market is very large. What is lost in lowering the price would be regained in the quantity of sales,” he said.

International health organizations should be advocates of rule variations and exceptions that allow for area-specific health care planning and market regulations, he said.

Disclosure: Belfort has no relevant financial disclosures.