From Darkness to Light: National Programme for Control of Blindness

O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!....- John Milton

Milton was expressing a primal sentiment as ability to see is critical for realization of human potential. This sentiment is shared by at least 12 million people in India who fall in the category of blind (visual acuity less than 6/60). In many cases this fate is totally avoidable or can be corrected by simple interventions. For example, in the year 2008-09, the country performed nearly 5.8 million cataract surgeries with 94% inter-ocular lens (IOL) implantation. In layman terms this means blindness was either prevented or corrected in 5.4 million people in one year. This was one of the activities of National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) which has made a commendable progress in terms of Cataract Surgical Rate and the momentum thus generated would continue in future also.

The Programme
National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) is now more than thirty years old, launched in 1976 as 100% centrally sponsored scheme has the professed goal of reducing blindness prevalence to 0.3% by the year 2020. Blindness prevalence stood at 1% in 2006-07, down from 1.1% in the year 2001-02. Refractive errors are other important cause of vision impairment and are being addressed effectively through institutional and outreach activities. School Eye Screening is an important strategy wherein eyes of children studying in schools are screened for vision impairment and glasses distributed free of cost to students from poor socio-economic strata. Corneal blindness is being addressed through eye banking activities and a new thrust has been given for eye donation and corneal transplantation.

With the approval of Rs 1250 crores and implementation of Eleventh Plan (2007-12) the programme has taken a lead in addressing other issues of blindness in a comprehensive manner. These include Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Childhood blindness, Low Vision and ocular injuries in a mission mode through successful Public Private Partnership. The endeavor of the programme is to eliminate all causes of avoidable blindness and to reach a sustainable level where-in all people have access to level appropriate eye care service. Tele-ophthalmology a new information technology tool has been introduced under the programmefor reaching the undeserved population in rural & tribal areas. The results are very encouraging and being scaled up in a phase manner.

NRHM Push
The programme has been fully integrated under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to enhance the reach and coverage including utilization of services of community link worker like Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and Anganwadi workers. State Blindness Control Societies and District Blindness Control Societies have been merged State HealthSocieties and District State Societies formed under the NRHM umbrella. Under NRHM facility for IOL implantation are to expanded to at least Taluka level.

Other new initiatives include funding for construction of eye wards and dedicate eye OT especially in North East State and Hilly/underdeveloped States and appointment of eye surgeons, eye donation counselors and Para-Medical Ophthalmic Assistant (PMOA) especially for the new or district where there are none. The recurring expenditure of such workforce will be borne by Government of India till the term of eleventh plan period and thereafter it would be taken up by respective State/UTs. Funding for provision of latest equipment and instruments for establishing & strengthening eye care services in government institutions i.e. vision centre at Primary Health Centre (PHC), Community Health Centre (CHC) through district hospital and medical colleges are being developed into centre of excellence for providing pediatric ophthalmology retina units/low vision units.

Non-governmental sector providing free services to needy population are being supported through recurring and non-recurring grant as per the approved schemes. Capacity building of health personnel is another important strategy for improving their skills and updating them on issues relevant to the programme for delivery of eye care services. The Government coordinates the in-service training of eye surgeons working in public sector and provides funding to States/UTs for other health care staff including medical officers, paramedical and community link workers. Advocacy and social mobilization including Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities have made a impetus in improving community awareness.

Encouraging Response
Funds utilization is an indicator for planned activities being under taken and during last five years utilization has been to the tune of nearly 100% of the allocation. National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB), through State/UTs and all other stakeholders and partners are consistently moving forward in advancement of comprehensive eye care services and hopefully would be able to bring the level of blindness in the country from current status of 1.0% to 0.3% by the year 2020.

*Based on Material from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Hindu - Opinion

TAGS for articles

AGRICULTURE Andamans ANDHRA PRADESH Articles in Yojana Magazine BANKING Bio-Diversity Biodiversity CAG 150 Years CAMELS Rating System CENSUS : Important Definitions Census 2011 Census Data 2001 India at a glance Census of India 2011 Champaran Satyagraha's 100 years Children in India 2012 Climate Change Co-operative sector Communication CONSTITUTION Consumer Affairs COP 18 CRPF 75 YEARS Culture Cyclone Defence Desertification Disabled Get Social Justice Doha Climate Change Conference 2012 Outcomes E-Waste Management Eco Mark Economy Education in India eGovernance ELECTRONICS National Policy 2012 Emissions Trading Energy Engineers are Nation Builders Environment FDI FDI in Multi Brand Retail Finance Food Security FOOD SECURITY ACT 2013 Forest Gandhi Gas Authority of India Ltd General Elections 2014 Geography Global knowledge hub Goa Good Governance GOVERNANCE AND PUBLIC SERVICE Governance and Public Service Govt. Schemes Green Bench Handicrafts Haryana Judiciary Health History Home Ministry details and imp websites Horticulture Human Development Rank IARI PUSA IFoS Interview India Post India Year Book 2010 Indira Gandhi Indo Pak Relations Indo USA Indo- Nepal Relations 2014 Industrial Disputes Industry Inflation Infrastructure INTERNAL SECURITY International Relations Internet Interview Preparation Irrigation ISRO : FAQs Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission Judge Guide JUDICIAL ACTIVISM JUDICIARY Judiciary : Articles on very important topics Kashmir Khadi Language Large Hadron Collider Law LOKAYUKTA ROLE Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 Mangroves mate Change Media Mercury MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Monetary Policy MSME National Forest Policy (NFP) 1988 National Green Tribunal National Issues National Pension System Nature Naxalism Naxalism : Internal Security Problem in India Naxalism (HINDI) Naxalism LWE Maoism: Problems and solutions Nilgiri North East NRHM- Key Achievements NSS: National Service Scheme Nuclear Science and Nuclear Reactor Nutrition Odiya Film Making 75 Years OUR PARLIAMENT Panchati Raj Parliament of India Peace Process in North East Personality Test Planning Planning Commission of India PM Narendra Modi Speech on 15 Aug 2014 Lal kila Delhi Pollution Population Poverty President election 2017 President's lecture Project Arrow Project Elephant Public Administration Public Administration - Articles/Reports/Papers PURA Qualities of Judge (Judicial Officer) Rabindranath Tagore Railways Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana RBI : Journey into History of Bank of the Bankers Remote Sensing Renewable Energy RTI in brief Rural India SAFAR SARFAESI ACT Science and Technology Sevottam Simla Agreement Social Issues Society Socio Economic and Religious Differentials states Sunderbans Sustainable Development Tamil Tamilnadu Technological Developments Total Sanitation Campaign Tourism Tribes Tripura UPSC Urban Flooding Urban Issues Values Water Issues Water woes Welfare Wildlife Protection and Conservation Women's Issues Zoology

Trusted name in IAS Interview Training