Community eye health program delivers
care to thousands
Nayan Mandir Eye Institute
District, Rajasthan State
It’s hard to imagine that low population density is a problem for one of
our hospital partners in India, the world’s second most populated country, but
it is for Alahk Nayan Mandir Eye Institute. Alakh Nayan Mandir is an advanced secondary care centre that
began its partnership with Operation Eyesight in 2011. The Institute was
founded in 1997 to serve the underprivileged in Udaipur and surrounding
Mandir is located in the district of Udaipur in the southern state of Rajasthan,
which has a population of over 68 million. However, the area surrounding the
eye institute is hilly, sparsely populated and difficult to get around due to
limited public transportation options. These factors have made the new
hospital-based community eye health program a challenge, but they have found
ways around the obstacles.
Alakh Nayan Mandir began a four-year hospital-based community eye health
program that serves almost 200,000 people in partnership with Operation
Eyesight. The program brings eye health care directly to communities in the
region and helps integrate primary eye care into primary health care.
area is made up of more than 250 villages with a large tribal population. While
there are a number of health centres, they have no personnel trained to provide
eye care services. Blindness is prevalent among the region’s people because of poor
eye health-seeking behaviour, vitamin A deficiency, lack of access to
clean and safe water, poor personal hygiene and environmental sanitation, low
immunization rates, high rates of malnutrition among mothers and children and a
lack of medicines for common eye diseases.
team has received extensive training and conducted a door-to-door survey to
assess the eye health needs of the region’s residents. The community is excited
that eye care is finally available to them. The project provides the highest
quality medical care possible, promotes available community-based services and
works to integrate eye care into primary health care. The goal is to create a
model that enables community members to serve in their own district while
preventing and treating avoidable blindness for years to come.