India: Our work during COVID-19
Subscribe to our newsletter
AA Increase font size

Updates from our country manager, Anup Zimba

As part of our emergency response in India:

  • 91 community health workers were trained
  • 14,595 hygiene kits were distributed
  • 65,270 individuals received health education
  • 14,565 health education materials were distributed
  • 15 hand washing vessels were distributed

May 25, 2020

Our total impact to date as of May 25th, 2020

  • 14,595 hygiene kits have been distributed to vulnerable and marginalized families.
  • 65,270 individuals have been reached through health education.
  • 91 community health workers have been trained on COVID-19 detection and prevention measures.
A community health worker shares COVID-19 health information

May 15, 2020

Updates from the week ending May 15th, 2020 

  • 2,642 Operation Eyesight hygiene kits including soap, bleach, a COVID-19 information brochure, masks and hand sanitizer were distributed this week. This brings the total up to 8,067 kits distributed.
  • 12,141 individuals received health education about the prevention and detection of COVID-19. This brings the total to 39,080 individuals who have received COVID-19 health education.
A community health worker demonstrates proper hand washing techniques.

May 8, 2020

Updates from the week ending May 8th, 2020 

  • 2,646 Operation Eyesight hygiene kits including soap, bleach, a COVID-19 information brochure, masks and hand sanitizer were distributed this week. This brings the total up to 5425 kits distributed.
  • 12,455 individuals received health education about the prevention and detection of COVID-19. This brings the total to 26,939 individuals who have received COVID-19 health education.

With support from Operation Eyesight, Siliguri Greater Lions Hospital started our COVID-19 pandemic emergency response. This program empowers communities by creating awareness and equipping them with hygiene kits to stop the spread of coronavirus. Community health workers were trained on preventative measures to educate community members on how to protect themselves against COVID-19. The community health workers will reach over 9000 families from vulnerable communities, educating them about personal health and hygiene and providing them with a hygiene kit. Each kit can cater to a family of four and contains hand sanitizer, soap, bleaching powder, face masks, gloves and an information pamphlet on COVID-19.

-Dr. Rajesh Saini, Chief Executive Officer, Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital
A community health worker delivers a hygiene kit and provides health education about COVID-19.

May 1, 2020

Updates from the week ending May 1st, 2020 

  • 779 Operation Eyesight hygiene kits including soap, bleach, a COVID-19 information brochure, masks and hand sanitizer have been distributed to marginalized families.
  • 3,465 individuals have received health education on COVID-19 awareness and prevention measures.
  • 30 vision technicians have been trained on disinfection guidelines and COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • 91 community health workers have been trained to respond to COVID-19.

A community health worker conducts a health information session about COVID-19.

April 24, 2020

Updates from the week ending April 24th, 2020 

  • To date, 255 individuals have been educated on COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including how to keep yourself and your family safe, along with proper hand washing techniques.
  • We have distributed 51 hygiene kits to vulnerable and marginalized families in Bhopal.
  • Our project coordinators conducted training with community health workers from four partner hospitals.
  • We have trained Vision Technicians on disinfecting guidelines and protocols for our Vision Centres.
A community health worker distributes a hygiene kit to a family in need.

April 17, 2020

Updates from the week ending April 17th, 2020 

  • We conducted an online orientation session about our COVID-19 response which was attended by all our implementation partners.
  • We began training community health workers on COVID-19 awareness, prevention and control measures which will continue next week.
  • In collaboration with village heads and primary health care staff, we have identified marginalized households, including female-headed homes and those with disabilities, who will receive hygiene kits. Procurement of supplies for these kits has started.
  • Printing has not been identified as an essential service. However, partner hospitals are liaising with their respective district health department to print information, education, and communication materials.
Hygiene supplies being collected for distribution.

April 10, 2020

Currently, India is under a complete lock down. Only essential services such a hospitals, pharmacies and grocery stores remain open. The government has sealed several areas in the country identified as ‘Hot Spots.’ All public transport and airlines have been suspended.

Despite the current lockdown in India, hospitals are still delivering emergency services, allowing them to use some staff and hospital-owned vehicles. These vehicles can transport staff (including community health workers) who have been issued with valid healthcare passes issued by the district authorities.

We plan to provide training for community health workers (CHWs) so that they can educate their communities about COVID-19. This training will include topics such as the detection of symptoms, the importance and proper techniques for hand washing, and what to do if you or a family member starts displaying signs of COVID-19. By mid-May, we will have 110 CHWs and project staff trained to address COVID-19.

Using hospital vehicles, staff in the partner hospitals will pick up CHWs and they will distribute COVID-19 education materials and hygiene kits (containing hand sanitizer, soap, cloth face masks and bleaching powder) to households to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In the first month, we hope to have 6,000 of these kits distributed. The lockdown may affect the timely supply of items included in the hygiene kits, but the long-standing relationship of our partner hospitals with the vendors and advance bulk orders for all the items will minimize the delays in supply.

Health education and information materials will be available at our vision centers. We will also be installing hand washing stations at all our vision centers to promote proper hygiene practices.

To ensure the safety of our staff and our community health workers, we are working to procure safety materials such as disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizers. All of our vision centers are complying with Operation Eyesight’s increased sanitation measures.

Activities related to avoidable blindness:

The India project team is using this time to revamp the door-to-door surveys usually administered by community health workers to determine a household’s awareness of eye health issues and health care options. In accordance with India’s lockdown, all door-to-door surveys and screenings have been put on hold.

Learn more about our response to COVID-19 and how you can help here

For more updates on COVID-19, visit