Sightsavers with support from SBI Capital Markets Limited launches mobile vision centre in Pune to prevent avoidable blindness among the urban slum population

June 2022

29th June 2022, Pune:  As parts of its Urban Eye Health Programme also known as Amrita Drishti, Sightsavers India established a mobile vision centre in Pune to improve the city’s primary eye care services. The programme is being implemented by H V Desai Eye Hospital in the city and is supported by SBI Capital Markets Limited.

Through better eye health seeking behaviour, the intervention aims to boost demand for eye health treatments among the people living in the urban slums of the city. Sightsavers India’s Honorary Chairman and a Former Chief Election Commissioner, Dr SY Quraishi and Ms Rati Forbes, Director of Forbes Marshall Ltd., and Honorary Vice Chairman, Sightsavers India Board served as the flag bearers for the Mobile Van’s launch. Mr RN Mohanty, CEO at Sightsavers India, and the full Board of Trustees were present for the flag-off of the eye health mobile van.

Sightsavers National Programme on Urban Eye Health ‘Amrita Drishti’ works in metropolitan cities with the objective to ensure comprehensive and sustainable eye health mechanisms for the urban slums of India. It is working towards providing equitable (eye) health services to the urban poor in slums and the underserved areas of 20 intervention cities (including eight state capitals) across India.

“The Amrita Drishti programme of Sightsavers provides advanced eye care services at an affordable cost in the slums and reaches out to the poor population through the Government facilities such as the Urban Primary Health Centres, clinics, hospitals, where eye care services are least present or unavailable. The mobile eye health van strategy is an excellent way of reaching the population who have any constraints in travelling to static eye health facilities,” said Dr SY Quraishi, Honorary Chairman, Sightsavers India Board.

“Building people’s capacities and making services accessible in the community are essential for resolving any underlying challenge. Sightsavers’ Urban Eye Health Programme seeks to reach out to the community where there is the most need. With greater collaboration, the programme is sure to have a lasting impact and tangible results to prevent avoidable blindness,” said Ms Rati Forbes, Honorary Vice Chairman, Sightsavers India Board.

In Pune, the programme will reach out to the targeted population through the fully equipped mobile van eye clinic and provide comprehensive eye care services at their location. The model is cost-effective and accessible for the most vulnerable & marginalised group of people such as women, elderly and children in the urban slums.

“As per Census 2011 data, nearly 22% of Pune’s total population live in slums. According to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the city is home to 481 slums. The mobile eye health model will be an efficient approach to reach out to the slums of Pune and make eye health services available to stop preventable blindness,” said RN Mohanty, CEO Sightsavers India.

With the aid of the installed technology, the mobile van will conduct eye screenings at various sites and identify patients for Refractive Error, Cataract, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). Patients who require a more thorough examination and treatment will be directed to the base hospital. Individuals who have refractive error will be given eyeglasses right away. The activities will be managed by a team that includes a Community Health Workers (CHW) and an optometrist.