Making eye care part of health systems

A female health worker holds up an eye chart for a female patient.
Putting people first – Integrated Peoplecentred Eye Care (IPEC) is the gold standard in global eye health and has been a key part of our approach for decades. Understanding the unique needs, preferences and values of individuals and communities allows us to strengthen health systems in villages like Hong, in Arunachal Pradesh. Here, the vision centre is part of the local wellness centre.
Written by Colin Zak, published on July 10, 2023 Sign up for eNews

Today, we are one of the few nongovernmental organizations partnering with the Government of India to open vision centres in existing government health facilities, bringing quality eye health care to underserved communities.

Together, we are establishing and equipping vision care facilities, training existing healthcare staff and developing a continuum of care for patients – from diagnoses at the community level, to referrals for specialized treatments at hospitals, to follow-up care.

The approach was initially launched in three districts in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, in partnership with Jhpiego (an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University) and the state Ministry of Health. Based on the project’s early success, with the support of Optometry Giving Sight, we are now replicating the model in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya.

“It’s not about re-inventing the wheel. Integrating basic eye care into the existing primary health care system helps ensure that patients can receive care in a way that is cost-effective, practical and, above all, sustainable,” explains Dr. Troy Cunningham, our country director for India.

“This is how we reach the most disadvantaged populations, as patients who are able to pay most typically seek care at for-profit facilities, rather than attending government services.”

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