Staff Correspondent

Villages in Dharwad, Bijapur and Haveri districts to be covered soon

Koppal and Uttara Kannada will also benefit

137 children operated at eye care camp

HUBLI: Orbis International, which has tied up with MM Joshi Eye Institute (MMJEI) to create awareness on childhood blindness and provide advanced treatment to children to prevent them from developing incurable blindness, has drawn up plans to expand its activities.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, programme manager of Orbis International (India Country Office) Soumyabrata Guha, medical director of MMJEI M.M. Joshi and ophthalmic surgeon R. Krishnaprasad said that in the coming days various places in the districts of Dharwad, Bijapur and Haveri would be covered under the programme with the help of the Department of Women and Child Development.

Then, the districts of Koppal and Uttara Kannada would be brought under the programme aimed at giving sight to children who were on the verge of being labelled as visually impaired for the rest of their life, they said.

Dr. Krishnaprasad said that because of the active involvement of the Department of Women and Child Development through its anganwadi workers, the hospital was able to operate on 137 children to give them back vision in the camp that concluded on Thursday.

Making a presentation on the work done through the Orbis-MMJEI partnership, he said that the most difficult task faced by them during the implementation of the programme was getting the children to the hospital as there were misconceptions among the parents.

Belief

“Still many in the villages believe that a girl with a squint in her eye is a fortunate one.

“And because of the same reason they do not want to get their child operated. Most of them do not know that squint in eye could lead to blindness,” he said.

Mr. Guha said that Orbis International would be setting up 50 child eye-care centres across India, while the Union Government would be setting up another 50.

He said that Orbis had set up 22 centres across India to address child eye-care problems.

The Union Government had also allocated funds for setting up such centres, he said.

He said that treating eye problems among children involved high cost, but under the programme they were treated free.

Donations

He said organisations such as MMJEI could continue to provide free service only with the help of donations from philanthropists.

Woman and Child Development Officer D.H. Lalita and Deputy Director of Woman and Child Development Malati Pol lauded the work done by anganwadi workers in identifying children with eye problem and convincing their parents to take them to hospital for treatment.

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