BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday launched a first-of-its-kind
health programme which aims at providing comprehensive, accessible, affordable and equitable eye care to people of all age groups.
Odisha is the first State in the country to have formulated the Universal Eye Health Programme (UEHP) to protect people from avoidable vision related problems. The State Government has planned to
spend Rs 600 crore for it in next five years.
"Vision centres equipped with appropriate eye-care facilities will be established across the State. Initially the centres will be opened at CHCs and later at PHCs and sub-centres. Requisite trained
manpower will be appointed to make the programme successful. The initiative will get 100 per cent funding support from the State Government and I hope the UEHP will definitely help achieve vision for all by 2022," Naveen said.
As per an estimate, 285 million people are either blind or visually impaired globally. Though several cost-effective interventions are available which can cure over 80 per cent eye ailments, unfortunately avoidable vision loss still prevails.
“All cataract cases in Odisha which constitute 80 per cent burden of blindness will get free operation facility and appropriate glasses under the programme. It will also help corneal blind people get
back their vision through corneal transplantation free of cost,” the CM said after launching the programme on the occasion of World Sight Day-2017 at Jaydev Bhawan here.
All school students will be screened for refractory error and other eye problems. Accordingly, they will be supplied spectacles free of cost and people suffering from defective near vision will also be
supplied free spectacles, Naveen said.
Stating that diabetes retinopathy is emerging as a major cause of blindness, the CM said that massive screening programme will be undertaken to detect them early and treat them free of cost at district hospitals.
Health Minister Pratap Jena said all glaucoma cases will be provided free treatment while eye problems in early childhood will be identified through screening and the patients will be provided free treatment under the programme.
“We have constituted one empowered committee comprising Government officials, representatives of international NGOs and academicians to plan and suggest eye care initiatives to be undertaken,” he said.
The Chief Minister also launched a web portal to bring the initiatives closer to people. The portal will help people with eye problem register themselves and get the information of availability of free
treatment provided by the Government. He also released UEHP activity booklet, Asha kit and school comic books on eye health.
Among others, Development Commissioner R Balakrishnan, Health Secretary Dr Pramod Kumar Meherda, UEHP Chairman Dr TP Das, CEO of Vision 2020 Phanindra Babu Nukella and Director of Health Services Dr BK Brahma were present.