'We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.' It is an accepted fact that partnerships have accomplished a great deal in working towards progress. Malkangiri district of Odisha shows the way to doing it efficiently.
The recently concluded Project Bal Jyoti is a comprehensive eye screening camp for school children, which covered all government schools of the predominantly tribal populated district. Essar Foundation supported the District Administration towards this project which is a huge milestone in terms of its scale and complexity.
A dedicated mobile ophthalmic care unit was deployed with qualified ophthalmologists and ophthalmic assistants from Jagdalpur Medical College for the entire duration of the camps.
For the second year in a row, Essar Foundation and district administration in Malkangiri have successfully commenced project Bal Jyoti. It is a district-wide free & comprehensive ophthalmic care drive for school children.
Spanning all 7 blocks, and 1,400 government schools in the district, the initiative reached out to 1,16,894 school students. As many as 3,809 students detected with low vision shall be provided free vision aid and spectacles. Over 2,000 students received nutrition supplements and eye-drops, while 47 were referred to the best hospitals for free surgery and special care.
The camps saw the presence of several children who had received treatments and spectacles in the past year. The follow up consultation showed encouraging results, in terms of improved eye health as well as regularity of these children in school. Bal Jyoti is going to further ensure follow up action of the students diagnosed with more critical issues for major treatments and surgeries at a reputed eye institute.
Refractive error remains the main cause of visual impairment in children aged between 7 and 15 years in rural India. Because visual impairment can have a significant impact on a child's life in terms of education and development, it is important that effective strategies be developed to eliminate this easily treated cause of visual impairment. Most of the refractive errors can usually be corrected with the use of spectacles.
School screening programmes have been an established part of the school health service, and Project Bal Jyoti is an exemplary demonstration of multi-departmental partnerships empowering schools to initiate eye health care and early detection of refractive errors.
Project Bal Jyoti at a glance:
- Comprehensive eye-screening of students of all government schools
- Duration: 11-21st September, 2017 (11 days)
- Coverage: all 7 Blocks of Malkangiri district, Odisha
- 1,16,894 students screened
- 3,811 students detected with vision issues
- 3,809 students to be given spectacles
- 1,230 students given Vitamin A & D capsules
- 765 received eye drops
- 47 students requiring special care referred for surgery