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ProblemAcquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis continues to be a neglected source of blindness in resource-poor settings. The main issue is lack of capacity to diagnose CMV retinitis in the clinical setting where patients receive care and all other opportunistic infections are diagnosed.ApproachWe developed and implemented a four-day workshop to train clinicians working in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) clinics how to perform binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and diagnose CMV retinitis. Workshops comprised both classroom didactic instruction and direct clinical eye examinations in patients with advanced AIDS. Between 2007 and 2013, 14 workshops were conducted in China, Myanmar and the Russian Federation.Local settingWorkshops were held with local clinicians at HIV clinics supported by nongovernmental organizations, public-sector municipal hospitals and provincial infectious disease referral hospitals. Each setting had limited or no access to locally- trained ophthalmologists, and an HIV-infected population with advanced disease.Relevant changesClinicians learnt how to do binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and to diagnose CMV retinitis. One year after the workshop, 32/38 trainees in Myanmar did systematic eye examination for early diagnosis of CMV retinitis as standard care for at-risk patients. In China and the Russian Federation, the success rates were lower, with 10/15 and 3/5 trainees, respectively, providing follow-up data.Lessons learntSkills necessary for screening and diagnosis of CMV retinitis can be taught in a four-day task-oriented training workshop. Successful implementation depends on institutional support, ongoing training and technical support. The next challenge is to scale up this approach in other countries.

Original publication




Journal article


Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Publication Date





903 - 908


SEVA Foundation, 1786 Fifth Street Berkeley, CA 94710, United States of America (USA).


Humans, AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections, Cytomegalovirus Retinitis, HIV Infections, Ophthalmoscopy, Vision Tests, Program Evaluation, Ophthalmology, Education, Medical, Continuing, Clinical Competence, Myanmar, China, Russia