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First Author: S.Saikia INDIA
Co Author(s): V. Surong A. Deka S. Kumar
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As Vision 2020 envisages comprehensive eye care outreach programs and community participation, the program currently running demands that outreach programs be strenthened. The pilot project aims to determine the success of involving community volunteers like teachers, CBR workers, village headmen etc as a link between eye care providers and community in initiating screening programs in order to strengthen comprehensive outreach programs.
Mission Trust and B.Nethralaya
The project was done in two districts of Meghalaya in 2010/2011: West Khasi Hills and Ri Bhoi. First, CBR workers from the districts, youth volunteers, school teachers, and village headmen came together for a one-day training in an eye center where they were taught common eye diseases and vision screening. They then were provided with basic screening kits and sent to various houses, schools, and community gatherings in the village to refer those with various eye problems detected to a particular screening venue with an ophthalmic team who offered further screening and referred those needing treatment to the eye center for further management.
There is a change in trends in screening. There has been a threefold increase in the number of screening participants, from only 5,000 in 2009/2010 to above 15,000 in 2010/2011. There have also been more various eye problems detected, e.g., cataract, refractive error, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, as compared to the earlier results.
Comprehensive outreach programs can further be strengthened by community participation. This project promises successful screening programs by making a link between eye care providers and community leaders, CBR workers, youth volunteers etc in taking the responsibility and ownership of the program and additionally conducting follow-ups to the cases and sustainability of the program.