New Delhi: Sightsavers India has commemorated the successful completion of five years of RAAHI – National Truckers Eye Health Programme. RAAHI seeks to ensure that truckers with refractive errors receive glasses in the most convenient way possible, that they wear them consistently, and seek regular eye examinations. The programme operates on a hub-and-spoke model, with static vision centres – RAAHI Drishti Kendras – and outreach camps. These services include vision screening, refraction, blood pressure checks, body weight measurement, cataract check-ups, and eye-health counselling and referrals.
The celebration began with the screening of a short film presented by Sightsavers India and Cholamandalam, which was followed by the unveiling of “Eyes on the Highway”, a five-year journey report, which highlighted the recorded data, progress, and insights of the National Truckers Eye Health Programme till date, as well as another report on the impact and effectiveness of ready-to-clip spectacles among truck drivers over five years. Ready2ClipTM (R2C) spectacles were introduced into RAAHI Programme to reduce the waste caused by the non-collection of custom-made spectacles.
Sightsavers’ Honorary Brand Ambassador, Kabir Bedi, Amit Ghosh, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways; Dr Caroline Harper, Global CEO, Sightsavers; R N Mohanty, CEO at Sightsavers India; and Dr SY Quraishi, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Sightsavers India, graced the event.
“RAAHI is a flagship programme of Sightsavers. I am very happy to present the RAAHI film which marks five years journey of Sightsavers and Cholamandalam partnership in serving truckers across the country. Over the years, Sightsavers and Cholamandalam have together contributed greatly towards providing eye care services to the trucking community in India. The RAAHI Programme has made a significant impact in the lives of the truck drivers and has played a critical role in addressing problems like eye health and road safety,” said Dr SY Quraishi, Honorary Chairman, Sightsavers India Board.
“RAAHI is a Cholamandalam CSR flagship programme and we have been a part of this initiative for five years now. We intend to continue to work with Sightsavers and all its partners in the scale-up and expansion of the programme. As the RAAHI Programme continues to scale up, the original mission of the Programme should be continued to be retained and provide good quality services to the trucking population and the beneficiaries at large,” said Narendra Kumar, Senior Associate Vice President & HR Head CSR, Cholamandalam.
“There are about nine million truck drivers on Indian roads bringing us everything we need to our homes. We were shocked to discover that of the nine million truck drivers, 50 per cent had vision problems. In 2017, Sightsavers started the RAAHI initiative to bring eye care to the truckers,” said Kabir Bedi, Honorary Brand Ambassador, Sightsavers India.
“In our Bombay Urban Eye Health Programme, we had many truck drivers coming and getting their eyes checked. We segregated this data, of around 5,000 to 6,000 drivers, and did a small analysis, and we figured out that close to 47 per cent of truck drivers have eye problems. That was how RAAHI was born – to create a national programme for truckers in India,” said RN Mohanty, CEO of Sightsavers India.