Online Program

Strengths and weaknesses of India's blindness policy

Monday, November 4, 2013

Priti Mehta, MPA Candidate, Center for Development and Disability, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM
It is estimated that 15 million people are living with blindness in India today (Times of India, 2007). This accounts for approximately 1% of the Indian population and approximately 24% of the world's population which is living with blindness (Thomas, Paul, Rao, JP & Mathai, 2005). Addressing blindness in India is crucial to treating blindness globally.

There are many barriers which exist in treating blindness in India. Some of these are geographical while others are due to social factors including gender and caste.

Today, cataracts receives the most attention and funding from the government due to it's rate of prevalence. However, India's programs do not focus on preventative measures such as correcting refractive errors and childhood blindness.

Data collection on a national level has also been inconsistent, making it difficult to fully understand the prevalence of blindness in India both on a national and state-level.

India has been addressing blindness on a national level since 1976 when the government began the National Programme for the Control of Blindness. This program was continuously funded by the Indian government until 1994 when the World Bank began supporting India's blindness initiatives.

Today, there are many Non-Governmental Organizations which are also playing an active role in treating those living with blindness in India. India is also a key player in Vision 2020 which is the World Health Organization's initiative to cure preventable blindness around the world.

This presentation will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of India's vision policies.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the primary causes of blindness in India

Keyword(s): Vision Care, International

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Master's in Public Administration Candidate at the University of New Mexico. I have worked in the area of improving the quality of life for people living with disabilities for the past 7 years. My research interests include improving the quality of life of women living with disabilities as well as increasing access to health care services globally.
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.