200570 Community based eye-care through vision centres in India: An integrated approach

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:35 AM

Prakash Tyagi, MD , Head Office, GRAVIS, Jodhpur, India
Thar Desert of India is among most barren landscapes on earth, receiving under 200 millimetres rain a year and often experiencing prolonged droughts. The average amount of rainfall is unreliable as it is incredibly sporadic. Despite these limitations, it is the most populated desert in the world with nearly 23 million people. Amongst many difficulties region faces, lack of healthcare and particularly eye-care are most challenging.

GRAVIS is an NGO based in Thar Desert that works for integrated development of rural communities. The organization has been emphasizing on organizing healthcare programs and initiated a large eye-care program in the region in 2003. An eye hospital was set up and a cadre of community-based volunteers and organizations were formed to support the activities at the grass-root level. Over last six years, over 500,000 people benefited and over 9,500 surgeries have been performed. Vision centres have played important role in expanding the program in most remote areas. 6 vision centres have been established in desert. Local youths have been trained in screening vision and in providing minor treatment. The vision centres cover a population of over 200,000 and each centre serves nearly 1,000 people every month. The vision centres also organize education sessions focusing on preventive eye-health, hygiene and common diseases. Vision centres also act as resource centres for organizing trainings of school teachers and health- workers. Continuos functioning and networking of vision centres will be important in rural parts of a country like India for efficient and sustainable delivery of eye-care.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the vision care model Discuss future expansion of eye care interventions.

Keywords: Vision Care, Community-Based Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am directly involved with the implementation of the program in the capacity of the Director of the implementing organization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.