CBM India in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank, commits to equip 44 vision centres in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. With this association Standard Chartered Bank will provide CSR funding support for the next three years for the project.
The announcement is made ahead of World Sight Day 2020, to work towards reducing avoidable blindness in these states. The three-year project aims at reducing avoidable blindness by delivering primary eye care services by setting up of 44 disability inclusive vision centres, covering a population of approximately 22 lakhs in 34 blocks of 25 districts in 3 states of India.
CBM is one of the largest organizations working on disability inclusion in India since 1967. Much of CBMs work is focused on inclusive eye health and on working in remote areas to embed eye health services into the existing health systems. These inclusive vision centres situated in rural areas will cater to the most vulnerable communities, including people with disabilities. Each of these vision centres will be connected with secondary hospital for referrals and further treatments, including surgeries.
Karuna Bhatia, Head of Sustainability, India, Standard Chartered Bank, said, “The theme for this year’s World Sight Day is ‘Hope in Sight’ and the CSR programme Seeing is Believing by Standard Chartered is focused on managing this concern of avoidable blindness in India especially in locations which are remote and difficult to access and have people who financially are in the lower income group. This CSR partnership with CBM India will help create a long term and sustainable impact in the targeted communities and will further strengthen our effort to prevent avoidable blindness and ensure quality eye health services in India.”
As prevalence of blindness is more in rural population, CBM has chosen to work with a mix of larger and smaller eye care service providers both larger and hospitals in order to provide quality services in remote hard to reach areas. The project aims to screen 395805 people, of which 163464 will be supported with refractive errors, and 33000 people will be referred for cataract surgeries.
Dr. Sara Varughese, Managing Trustee, CBM India, said, “We are glad that in 2020, we are able to set-up these vision centres for the country, which is replicable and scalable, as well as the most appropriate model for eye screening. In general, 10% of the total population undergo screening at vision centres. Out of which, 25-30% of screened population will be identified with refractive errors; and spectacles will be disbursed for 60-65% refraction cases. 8.5% of people screened may also undergo cataract surgeries.”
She added, “By third year, we are aiming to attain sustainability with revenue from spectacles and nominal OPD fee. These vision centres also offer value added services such as testing for diabetic and blood pressure. This helps in identifying people with eye care problem at an early stage thus avoiding people going blind unnecessarily. The revolving fund invested for such value-added services as well as for starting of optical units will ensure sustainability of these centres”.
The vision centres facilitated by CBM India also promote disability inclusive rehabilitation services. It is barrier free with accessible physical infrastructure which ensures access not only to people with disabilities, but also to elderly and pregnant women.
The project aims to rehabilitate around 5000 people with disabilities who come to vision centres for eye care services. They will be referred for medical, livelihood or education support, as appropriate. CBM’s vision centre ophthalmologist, optometrist and community mobilizers are trained in these inclusive approaches. Apart, the community health workers will also be trained in disability inclusive eye care services which ensure continuous referrals from the community.
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