Mobile vision centres to be set up in Chennai, Kolkata, Pune for urban poor

Sightsavers, with the support of SBI Capital Markets Limited as a part of its CSR programme under healthcare, are setting up three mobile vision centres in the cities of Chennai, Kolkata and Pune to strengthen the primary eye care services. This is under its National Urban Eye Health Programme – Amrita Drishti.

The intervention seeks to increase the demand for eye health services among the urban poor population through improved eye health-seeking behaviour. The mobile vision centres are likely to increase access to inclusive, quality eye health services through integrated and strengthened urban health service delivery system. The project will reach out to 22,500 slum dwellers in three cities in a year, a statement issued Saturday said.

The model is cost-effective and accessible for the most vulnerable and marginalised group such as women, the elderly and children in urban slums. The programme is being implemented by India Vision Institute in Chennai, H V Desai Eye Hospital in Pune, and Susrut Eye Foundation & Research Centre in Kolkata.

These mobile vans are equipped with the requisite resources and materials to reach out to the target population, which precisely includes ophthalmoscope, retinoscope, trial lens, trial frame, lensometer, vision charts, occluder and vision testing drum.

The van is also equipped with a high-tech device known as ‘non-mydriatic fundus camera 3-Nethra. The device will help in the screening of serious eye health diseases such as Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy. Hence, the mobile centres will visit various locations and conduct eye screening and identify patients for Refractive Error, Cataract, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) with the help of the equipment installed.

Patients who would need more detailed check-ups and treatment shall be referred to the base hospital. Individuals identified with refractive error will be provided with spectacles directly. A team comprising an optometrist and Community Health Workers (CHW) will manage the activities.

“Since the pandemic hit the country, healthcare systems were overwhelmed, and people avoided going to the hospitals or clinics. The situation is skewed immensely for people with lesser means and access, such as those with disabilities (PwDs), women, the elderly, and children. In such times, mobile clinics have proven to be a valuable tool in planning and responding to a wide variety of public health crises. The mobile eye health model has an ability to reach vulnerable patient populations during difficult times and meet the eye care needs of the community,” said R N Mohanty, CEO Sightsavers India.

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