Quality eye care services to reach urban slum populations in Chennai

Quality eye care services to reach urban slum populations in Chennai with the launch of two new Vision Centres and one Mobile Vision Centre   To increase access to quality eye health services through an integrated and strengthened urban health service delivery system, Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS) Private Limited, India collaborated with Sightsavers India to launch two new Vision Centres and one Mobile Vision Centre in Chennai.          

Standard Chartered Global Business Services (GBS) Private Limited will be financially supporting the two vision centres and a mobile vision centre for uptake of eye health care in the city for a span of four years. Sightsavers India, a development organisation working on avoidable blindness and disability inclusion will be partnering with India Vision Institute for the two Vision Centres wherein the intervention seeks to identify more than 6,000 people with cataracts and refer them for surgery, screen over 60,000 people for eye care, and dispense more than 8,000 spectacles over next four years.  Nearly, 2,000 people will also be screened for diabetic retinopathy.

For the Mobile Vision Centre, Sightsavers India collaborated with Sankara Eye Hospital as its implementing partner. The intervention through this initiative seeks to refract nearly 30,000 people, dispense 6,000 spectacles, identify more than 4,000 patients for cataracts and screen 2,000 people for diabetic retinopathy over 4 years.

The van is a fully fitted eye health set-up with a dedicated team. Using a compact mobile van has proven to be a very successful approach owing to its easy mobility in dense areas, easy access to reach more significant people in their locations and on-the-spot advanced eye screening services.

Head – Sustainability, Standard Chartered Bank & Global Business Services, Ms Karuna Bhatia said, “To ensure accessible eye care for communities in urban slums, Standard Chartered Global Business Services Private Limited has partnered with Sightsavers India to take comprehensive primary eye care services to the doorsteps of people and provide affordable eye care services to marginalised urban communities. The focus is on early detection of eye ailments, referral, and appropriate treatment. Standard Chartered through its Seeing is Believing project has been a long-standing partner of Sightsavers India working in remote and underserved regions of the country. Serving communities will always be at the heart of Standard Chartered. "

Sightsavers India CEO, Mr RN Mohanty said, “The two new Vision Centres and a Mobile Vision Centre in Chennai were launched with the objective of reducing the prevalence of visual impairment that aligns with the target set by the National Programme for the Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI).  The approach is aligned with the WHO Health Systems Strengthening framework. The launch of these initiatives with support from Standard Chartered Global Business Services Private Limited, will reduce the gap between eye health needs and service delivery demand by improving access to eye care services for the underserved population.”

IVI's CEO Vinod Daniel said, "The vision centres will help make a positive impact on people's lives. With a clear vision, there will be more work opportunities, increased efficiency, and improved productivity. It will also make people, particularly the elderly, regain self-confidence and less vulnerable to accidents and falls."

"Vision screening services and corrective glasses will be available at the vision centres at affordable prices, and free corrective glasses provided to those who are unable to pay. The new centres will complement our existing vision centre in Palavakkam," he said.

 “We have screened some 300,000 people in the Greater Chennai area. More than 90 percent of both underprivileged adults and children from corporation schools we have vision screened were first-time users of spectacles. The compliance rate among them is very high,” Mr Daniel added.

Trustee & Executive Director, Sankara Eye Hospital, Pammal, Wg Cdr V Shankar (Retd) said, “The Mobile Vision Centre is a force multiplier in addressing avoidable and curable visual impairment. While eye hospitals and static vision centres do provide options for people seeking eye care, the fact that the facility is made available literally at one’s doorstep is bound to encourage timely eye care-seeking behaviour. We at Sankara believe that our work in the cause of avoidable blindness has been significantly strengthened by this addition to our armamentarium. We are very grateful to Sightsavers and Standard Chartered Global Business Services for the opportunity to partner with them in our mission for vision.”