September 2021: Sightsavers with the support of SBI Capital Markets Limited – one of India’s leading investment banks, as a part of its CSR programme, under healthcare, set up three mobile vision centres to strengthen the primary eye care services in Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune 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 systems. The project will reach out to 22,500 slum dwellers in three cities in a year.
The model is cost-effective and accessible for the most vulnerable and marginalised group of people such as women, the elderly and children in the 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 requisite resources and material 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’. It is a digital non-mydriatic fundus camera, equipped with an efficient workflow to capture high-resolution images of the human eye through a quick focus mechanism that reduces the examination time. 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 of 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 persons with disabilities (PwDs), women, the elderly, and children. In such times, mobile clinics have proven to be a valuable tool in planning for 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 need of the community,” said RN Mohanty, CEO, Sightsavers India.
By addressing these priority conditions in one of the poorest communities in India, the project, with SBI Capital Markets Limited’s support will enable Sightsavers to take a step closer to achieving the goals of universal eye health at the local level.