Frontline human resources are key for any health care system.
In countries already severely deprived of health professionals, the loss of each individual has serious implications for the health of citizens.
In the eye care sector, the Vision 2020 target on human resources in sub-Saharan Africa was one ophthalmologist per 500,000 population by 2000. By 2003, only 13 of the 46 WHO Member States in Africa had reached this level, and ten countries had one or fewer ophthalmologists per million people. Even these ratios probably overestimate the availability of services because of the concentration of ophthalmologists in urban areas and the private sector. Furthermore, eye care personnel depend on a team of other specialists and more general health workers to be effective, and these staff are also in critically short supply.