The Kasturba Kushta Nivaran Nilayam organization has its roots in India’s struggle for independence. At the time, one of the most serious issues facing Mahatma Gandhi was the lack of an adequate health care system throughout his country. The Mahatma decided to ask one of his closest friends, Prof. T.N. Jagadisan, to develop a leprosy program for the South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu.
When Prof. Jagadisan started his leprosy control program in 1947, thousands of people were contracting the dreaded diseases annually. By 1985, the incidence of new leprosy cases had dropped to 0.5 per thousand because of the work that Jagadisan had done. His leprosy control infrastructure was so successful that, in 1985, it was decided that his system could be adapted to help the large number of curably blind in that part of Tamil Nadu.
Operation Eyesight became involved that year, when our donors funded the construction of a large eye care ward. Working together with the Canadian International Development Agency, we funded an annual surgical camp, screening camps and a family health nutrition program.