14 October 2010
By Umesh Isalkar
Only Pune Has Availed Of Central Financial Scheme For Surgeries To Check Blindness
Poor execution has marred the union health ministry’s scheme to extend financial assistance to eye surgeries in the state. The ministry has sanctioned funds, but only the district blindness control society (DBCS), Pune has claimed the money meant for eyerelated surgeries other than cataract. There are 34 such district societies working across the state to curb blindness.
"The union government has been giving financial aid for cataract surgeries since 1994. With the introduction of the new scheme, other eye surgeries like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, laser treatment, corneal transplantation, childhood blindness or squint surgery, have also been covered.
However, only one of the 34 DBCS made use of the sanctioned amount for performing eye surgeries other than cataract in the state till date since its implementation," said Ramesh Kathane, assistant director, State Blindness Control Society (SBCS).
A provision of Rs 1,200 crore has been made by the union government in the 11th five–year plan, three times more than the allocation in the 10th plan. "The scheme is relatively new and has been implemented from this year. Hence, general awareness is very low. It will require some more time to streamline it," said Kathane.
Every DBCS is expected to conduct regular camps and detect patients needing surgery for any eye ailments. They are directed to designated eye hospitals for surgery. A record of medication and surgery of every beneficiary is maintained by the DBCS. A monthly report is submitted to SBCS which collates and compiles the data of surgeries conducted across the state and submits it to the union ministry of health and family welfare.
Ashok Potdar, state joint director (National Blindness Control Programme), said, "The scheme has not been streamlined as yet. We have conducted a meeting of all district programme managers from the 34 DBCS last month to create awareness about the newly introduced scheme. A consolidated sum of Rs 21.84 crore has been sanctioned by the union government for conducting eye surgeries including cataract for 2010–11."
"Many people from the district have benefitted. The DBCS, Pune received Rs 7 lakh towards their expenses as financial assistance," said B N Kakne, district ophthalmic surgeon and district programme manager of DBCS, Pune.
- National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) was launched in 1976 as a 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme to reduce the prevalence of blindness from 1.4 per cent to 0.3 per cent. As per the survey in 2001–02, the prevalence of blindness is estimated to be 1.1% in the country.
- To reduce the backlog of blindness through identification and treatment of blind
- To develop eyecare facilities in every district
- To develop human resources for providing eyecare services
- To improve quality of service delivery
- To secure participation of voluntary organisations in eye care
- RoP affects more than 50 per cent of premature babies. Most weigh less than 1,250 g at birth
- About 10 per cent develop severe RoP
- About 10 pc of childhood blindness is attributed to RoP
- About 2,000–2,500 may require aggressive forms of treatment. Less than half are actually diagnosed