CUTTACK: Even as more than one per cent of the population of Odisha is estimated to be suffering from preventable blindness, the JPM Rotary Eye Hospital and Research Centre, Cuttack, has prepared an action plan to take detection, diagnosis and basic ophthalmic care services to the grassroots.
The eye hospital run by the Rotary Club of Cuttack is planning to open Vision Centres with necessary equipment for eye care at the block-level starting from Cuttack district and gradually expanding to other places.
The centres would be manned by one ophthalmic assistant and an ophthalmic clinical assistant. They would not only detect eye and vision problems among the people of the villages but also provide basic treatment. The first Vision Centre has come up at Athgarh and the next ones are to be established at Banki, Nischintkoili and Angul soon.
“It is estimated that more than 75 per cent of blindness and loss of sight can be prevented through early treatment. Thus, while patients with minor problems will be treated by the trained personnel at the centre, those requiring more specialised medical interventions would be referred to the JPM hospital,” administrator Alok Sahoo said.
A rapid assessment study on blindness by the hospital under the National programme of Control of Blindness has put the prevalence of loss of sight at 1.1 per cent. About 0.8 per cent per thousand children have been found suffering from loss of sight in the State and the chunk of the blindness could be avoided by simple interventions.
In an effort to reach out to the people in the rural and interior pockets who do not have access to proper healthcare, the hospital is also set to launch teleopthalmology services. Mobile vans with telemedicine connectivity and equipment would tour the pockets and attend to patients through teleconferencing with experts sitting at the hospital, Sahoo said.
The hospital, which was plagued by problems last year, is gradually assuming normalcy. “We are in the process of appointing more doctors, paramedics and other professionals. The healthcare delivery system is being strengthened to carry forward the outreach programmes more intensively,” Sahoo added.