LVPEI’s 100th Primary Centre - Universal Eye Health Coverage for 2000 Villages
L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) begins the New Year with the launch of its 100th vision centre for primary care as part of its program providing universal eye health coverage to remote and underserved areas.
To serve the under privileged communities and reach the unreached segment in the eye health value chain, The Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye Care (GPR ICARE), the public health component of LVPEI, has established a network of Vision Centres (primary centres) linked to Secondary Centres across rural and remote rural locations in Andhra Pradesh. The institute’s latest secondary centre was launched in Bellary, in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, and there are projects underway to expand the network into Odisha as well, with three projects underway – Rajgangapur, Berhampur and Rayagada. LVPEI’s “pyramidal model of eye care delivery” from the primary to advanced tertiary levels is getting replicated around the world.
ICARE aims to reach out to the communities to deliver affordable and qualitative eye health care services, and conduct systematic research for the improvement and advancement of eye health care services. A significant proportion of eye problems can be corrected or detected at primary care level that has substantial savings to the individual and community.
To address these related problems, the concept of permanent infrastructure and trained eye health personnel for primary care vision Centres, ensuring that eye health services are available to the community at their door step for every 50,000 population had been initiated by LVPEI about 15 years ago. The idea is that any village should be able to walk out the street and get their eyes screened free of cost. This is assured at both provisions of care as well as to develop a habit of seeking health care in these communities.
Dr Gullapalli N Rao, Founder and Chair – L V Prasad Eye Institute said, “Complemented by dynamic governance, motivated teams and sophisticated technology, ICARE aspires to evolve into a highly efficient eye health care service delivery component for LVPEI as we step into another year with a success driven manifesto given for the next 25 years. In the seventeen years since its inception, our community eye health and outreach team has gained immense experience in community service delivery by the means of its capable staff who are trained to patiently listen to the community eye health needs before they work to restore sight for many.”
USPs of the vision centre:
Ø Providing spectacles for refractive errors, detecting potentially blinding problems, appropriate referrals for medical and surgical care.
Ø A Vision Technician trained at LVPEI, Hyderabad, will run its day-to-day operations.
Ø This provides local employment as the technicians are selected from these rural communities, trained and employed.
Ø The entire target population of about 50,000 around these centres have access to high quality primary eye care at no cost through permanent facilities.
With the Araku centre, LVPEI’s network of community eye care services now comprises 100 primary care vision centres and 11 secondary care service centres that have served nearly 2.5 million people thus far. Our vision centres have screened close to 130,000 people last year, about 70,000 of them school children.
About L V Prasad Eye Institute
The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) was established in 1986-87 at Hyderabad as a not-for-profit, non-government, public-spirited, comprehensive eye care institution. LVPEI is governed by two trusts: the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. The Institute is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative. LVPEI has six active arms to its areas of operations namely Clinical Services, Education, Research, Rehabilitation and Sight Enhancement Services, Eye Bank, and Public Health and Rural Outreach. For more information, visit www.lvpei.org
Dr Sreedevi Yadavalli