ITANAGAR, Feb 22: Taking into consideration the fact that Arunachal Pradesh has the second highest prevalence of blindness in the country at 2.28%, the State Govt has developed an Integrated Primary Eye Care Model with support from USAID’s flagship health system strengthening project ‘NISHTHA’, being implemented by Jhpiego and Operation Eyesight Universal to strengthen the eye care services.
This Integrated Primary Eye Care Model was launched by Health Minister Alo Libang at SC-HWC (Sub-Centre - Health and Wellness Center) Dharampur, Namsai on Sunday in presence of Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein and other dignitaries.
Speaking at the event, Libang said through this model, the State aims to ensure that everyone is screened for eye related problems so that timely treatment is provided free of cost to ensure that no one goes blind due to avoidable causes.
In his speech, Dy CM Mein suggested a “people’s first approach” through which the model eye care services will be strengthened at HWCs along with effective referral linkages to bring quality eye care services closer to people’s homes.
The model will be implemented in four zones comprising of 10 districts of Arunachal Pradesh in two phases. In the first phase, the model will be implemented in Changlang, Namsai and Lower Subansiri districts and in the 2nd phase, it will be implemented in Upper Siang, Upper Subansiri, Kra Daadi, Kamle, Kurung Kumey, Papumpare and Itanagar Capital Complex.
Through this model, it is envisaged that four District Hospitals will be strengthened to provide quality cataract surgical services; 9 Vision Centres will be established in the identified CHCs and District Hospitals; 76 Vision Points and 52 Advanced Vision Points established at SC-HWCs and PHC-HWCs respectively. Besides, 10 Functional Mobile Vision Centres will be launched; 2,500 Ophthalmic surgeries will be conducted annually; 1700 health workers will be trained and ensure 25 Avoidable blindness free villages.
The other dignitaries present at the event were Namsai Deputy Commissioner RK Sharma, SNO-NVPBVI Dr Taba Khanna, SNO-HWC Dr Lobsang Jampa, SNO, AIDS Control Programme Dr R Rina, Namsai DMO Dr Soreya Namchum and representatives from USAID-NISHTHA/Jhpiego and Operation Eyesight Universal.
A press note from the DD (IEC), NHM here said that every five seconds, one person in the world goes blind. A child goes blind every minute. Yet for almost 3 out of 4 of these people, blindness was completely preventable. Vision loss from avoidable causes like cataract, uncorrected refractive errors and glaucoma can be treated or prevented with cost effective means. The Govt of India has recognized the importance of eye health and made it a part of the service delivery package of 12 comprehensive primary healthcare services provided under the Ayushman Bharat - Health and Wellness Centers (AB-HWCs) initiative.