Childhood blindness has multiple causes and these causes vary in different age groups. We understand that a single wide-net screening strategy is not suitable for all diseases in differing age groups. We plan to have a community health worker, teacher led, technician led and doctor led screening and diagnosis systems, based on specific conditions with full cycle treatment delivery to ensure that no child will go blind.
Estimates for actual visual impairment numbers in India, vary from 14.8% for all school going children to a national estimate of 680,000 blind children. Out of this, nearly 275,00 have refractive errors. Post screening, delivery of care(including surgical and rehabilitation) suffers usually from dropout rates due to lack of information, education, and follow up systems. Paying for surgical interventions and repeated follow ups is also a barrier. A comprehensive screening-treatment-rehabilitation system is needed.
The project will be implemented in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. This area is selected as we already implement multiple vision screening and treatment programs across 17 districts of the state. A multipronged screening- diagnosis-treatment or rehabilitate strategy will be implemented to address the following age groups: Age 1year and premature, 1-3yrs, 3-6yrs, 6-16yrs, with specific screening, treatment and follow up for each. the aim will be to ensure that no child will go blind for lack of care.
Nearly 75,000 children will be screened across the project areas with more than a thousand of them will receive treatment and care. Rehabilitation will be offered where medical interventions are not suitable. Sufficient personnel will be trained through an unique community based and community owned initiative that will have a lasting impact beyond the project years.