by The Welthi Bureau | 20TH, September, 2018
Hyderabad, September 15, 2018: L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI)’s community eye care arm the Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye care (GPRICARE) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The center is named after one of the Institute’s major donors and coordinates all of LVPEI’srural eye health programs, as well as plays a major role in training community eye health professionals from all over the world, besides being a leader in public health research and advocacy. It is a WHO Collaborating Centre for the Prevention of Blindness.
Speaking on the occasion Chief Guest Shri ESL Narasimhan, Hon’ble Governor of TS & AP said, It's good to know that GPR I Care of LV Prasad Eye Institute, (LVPEI) has completed two decades, but it should go on to serve for centuries to come. Eyesight is most important for human being and GPR I Care is doing tremendous work in that area. LV Prasad Eye Institutes work is amazing, the touch of kindness, the humane nature is all worth emulating and imbibing by the entire medical fraternity. The three most important aspects for a good care is accessibility, affordability, and dependability and with these essential elements, LV Prasad Eye Hospitals has been doing yeoman service. In eye care, educating people is critical and in this aspect, the amount of ignorance in urban population is as much as it is in ruralites and they too need the education to take care of their eyes. A routine eye check is most essential, if it is not done in the initial stages, much of the damage would have already happened. Right to sight should be made a fundamental right. Also, more people should be trained to be eye care workers to reach out to the remotest person. My advice is to integrate GPR I Care services of LV Prasad Eye Institute with the Institutional deliveries being undertaken by Government hospitals so that every newborn is screened and the problem is identified and addressed at that stage itself, for that you should do a screening at the PHCs, he said.
Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda, Hon’ble Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India said, GPR I Care has done wonderful work in the last 20 years through its outreach, by taking eye care to the patient's doorstep in the remotest area. It has also contributed tremendously in capacity building by training manpower, developing systems etc. 80% of the eye problems are curable and need an aggressive strategy to tackle the problem and LVPEI's model is replicable for this. A government of India has taken several initiatives and policy changes in healthcare and the 2017 Health policy for comprehensive health care is an important initiative. To achieve our goals in Healthcare strategic engagement with the Private sector is important, the accumulated knowledge of the private sector can be put to best use in reaching our goals. The National Health program is a bold initiative of the government, which will bring a paradigm shift in reaching out healthcare to deprived sections. This program needs financial support too so that payments can be made timely and it becomes an effective program. Through this program, we will convert 150,000 sub-centers, PHCs into wellness centers. Our goal is to screen all at the age of 30 years for major ailments like BP, Diabetes, mental health, geriatric problems, oral cancer, cervix cancer, breast cancer and also eye screening so that in the years to come we will reduce the disease burden. On September 22nd the Prime Minister is launching PMJAY in 29 states to aid 10.74 cr families and 55 cr people from the marginalized sections of the society, they will be provided a golden card through which they can seek Rs 5 lakh worth of tertiary care per family per annum. This is the world's largest Universal Healthcare program and will bring change in the healthcare scenario of the country. Around 1350 high-end surgical procedures are included in it. The government of India is positive to work with institutions like yours to help people. Right now LVPEI is restricted to three states, but you have the capacity to go pan India and I will support you in this endeavor.
Dr. Gullapalli N Rao, Chair, LV Prasad Eye Institute said, the LVPEIs GPR I Care Village Vision Complex has become a model for the world.
Mr. Bob MacMillan, President, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness; said, for eliminating avoidable blindness in Australia, we were referred the LVPEI's Pyramid Model of eye care and those principles guided us, we could do significant work. The passion to eye care by LVPEI is reflecting in the work it is doing. They are an inspiration to many more.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, South East Asia, WHO said, this institution is a proud WHO collaboration center in a region where blindness is disproportionately high. GPR I Care has developed a self-sustaining eye care model for remote communities. They took eye care right to the door of the poor. Look forward to many more years of collaboration as we celebrate the grand work it has done.
This landmark occasion coincides with the Council of Members Meet of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), an international alliance of all eye care organizations, corporations, and institutions from around the world. Around 400 delegates are attending the Council, which is being hosted by LVPEI, to celebrate the progress made in India and across the South East Asia Region. The Council is discussing the challenges in eye health, not just in the region, but across the world. Dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Union Health Minister Sri J P Nadda; Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Sri ESL Narasimhan;, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for South East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh; the President of IAPB Mr Bob McMullan; the Chief Executive of the IAPB Mr Peter Holland; Dr Maria Alarcos Cieza Moreno and Dr Ivo Kocur from the World Health Organization, Geneva; and Prof Hugh Taylor, Immediate Past President of International Council of Ophthalmology.
Reflecting the diverse alliance that constitutes IAPB, the program covered topics such as Patient Safety and Treatment Outcomes (by the World Health Organization and L V Prasad Eye Institute), Eye Health Financing (by experts from the Fred Hollows Foundation), Creating and Maintaining Successful Partnerships (with experiences and advice led by the Lions Clubs International Foundation) and Guidelines for School Eye Health programmes (by the Brien Holden Vision Institute), Gender and Eye Health, Emerging technologies, training, sustainability, Primary eye health and Low vision care.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Founder and Chair, L V Prasad Eye Institute said, “For the last 20 years, Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for the Advancement of Rural Eye care ( GPRICARE ) have been reaching out to communities, most often the neglected and the unreached, and are making quality eye care accessible and affordable to them. Over 70% of the patients seen in our rural programs are treated free of cost, regardless of the complexity of their problem, and over 90% of these patients belong to remote, rural and tribal areas.”
The LVPEI rural eye care network comprises 18 secondary care level hospitals and 176primary care Vision Centres, and various community screening programs in remote rural and tribal areas of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. These provide direct comprehensive high-quality eye care to about 1.5 to 2.0 crore people in these areas covering around 10,000 villages in 22 districts. Several secondary centers are now equipped to provide complex surgical eye care to patients such as corneal transplant, squint, oculoplasty, etc. Deployment of technology through teleconsultations and teleophthalmology has enabled the center to make quality eye care more accessible for the community. Eye health personnel are trained in community eye health through various short-term and long-term training programs and are recruited from local communities. This pyramidal model of eye care has become one of the most successful models in the world.
Sharing his experience Dr. Rohit C Khanna, Director, GPR ICARE said, “Complemented by dynamic governance, motivated teams, sophisticated technology, and the right people at the right place, GPRICARE has evolved into an efficient eye health care service delivery component of LVPEI. We are always indebted to all our donors and institutions spread across the globe for giving their infinite support to make this possible. As we step into the future, we are driven by our manifesto of ensuring that nobody is denied eyecare and everybody is empowered to enjoy their right to sight.”
On the occasion, a short film “Enhancing vision, Enchanting lives” on the 20 years of GPRICARE, and a commemorative book “Reaching Out” encapsulating the GPRICARE journey over the years were released.
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