Allergan, Sightsavers, IAPB launch ‘Keep Sight India’ – community based glaucoma screening programme
The programme provides training for healthcare professionals to screen at-risk populations, ensure early and accurate diagnosis, provide appropriate treatment and long-term care
Allergan, Sightsavers and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) recently announced the launch of its unique joint initiative – ‘Keep Sight India’ – a community based glaucoma screening programme to prevent glaucoma-related vision loss in Ganjam District, Odisha. The pilot kicked off in October 2019 in partnership with Sightsavers local partner, Sankara Eye Hospital.
The programme provides training for healthcare professionals to screen at-risk populations, ensure early and accurate diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment and long-term care in an effort to make a positive impact on people with glaucoma at all levels of comprehensive eye care.
The first outreach camp was organised on December 3, 2019 on World Disability Day and subsequently four outreach camps were conducted under the pilot project. The outreach camps included services like vision testing, refraction, IOP measurement, fundus photography, spectacle dispensing, cataract identification, referral services and counselling services. To date 8276 people have been screened for glaucoma in these four outreach camps, from which 749 glaucoma suspects were identified and referred to the base hospital.2
RN Mohanty, CEO, Sightsavers said, “We are excited to be partnering with Allergan, an organisation with a long legacy in eye care. Sightsavers too like Allergan is committed in finding and providing effective solutions for patients suffering with glaucoma, which is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. The typical barriers we face on ground include inadequate human resources, a lack of awareness and limited access to medical treatments. The partnership between Sightsavers and Allergan is an example of the vital associations that are needed to fight avoidable blindness and deliver better services at the community level.”
Dr SY Quraishi, Honorary Chairman, Sightsavers India Board and former Chief Election Commissioner, India said, “Nearly 75 per cent of sight loss can be cured or prevented, so it’s an area where initiatives like this can have a strong impact where it is needed the most. I’m happy to know that people in and around Ganjam will become aware about glaucoma and take adequate corrective measures which are now accessible via eye screening camps in the community and services at the Sankara Eye Hospital, Samarjhola.”
“India will play a crucial role in meeting WHO’s targets for eye health”, said Joanna Conlon, Director, Development and Communications, IAPB. “The country is already at the forefront of delivering people- centred solutions for eye care. Keep Sight will work with Indian partners to support and extend India’s successes around eye health and glaucoma. IAPB is committed to universal eye health. Sightsavers has decades of experience in delivering eye health in the region. Together with Allergan, they are keen to make a real difference for people with Glaucoma. Together, we will work to support India’s eye care strategies.”
“Allergan is honoured to partner with Sightsavers and IAPB on ‘Keep Sight’; their wealth of knowledge and expertise, combined with our passion for science and solutions will have a real impact on our shared goal of reducing the high burden of irreversible blindness in the country. For almost two decades Allergan has been committed to developing novel approaches to preserve visual function and prevent blindness caused by glaucoma. ‘Keep Sight’ is an initiative that will make a real difference to people with glaucoma in India.” said Gopinath Kesavan, Associate Director, Eyecare, Allergan India.
Plan for next Quarter (Jan-Mar 2020)
The next quarter of the project will focus primarily on the following activities:
- Training of ophthalmologists on glaucoma care/management through International Council of Ophthalmology
- Strengthening interventions for follow-up compliance of patients diagnosed with glaucoma or treated under the programme
- Strengthening outreach interventions in terms of reducing per patient time in camps
- Continuous learning, training and skilling of the project team
- Development and dissemination of project communication materials in local language
2 Taken from output statistics in Keep Sight monthly reports. Further details available from Sightsavers’ Media team