Bihar Health System Strengthening Programme is a prestigious programme of Sightsavers, implemented in collaboration with the Government of Bihar. The programme covers seven districts of Bihar (Begusarai, Bhagalpur, Katihar, Kishanganj, Munger, Purnea and Samastipur) and is implemented in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach to ensure that the district hospitals of the State are rejuvenated to provide comprehensive eye health services to the community, especially the poor and downtrodden community of scheduled castes, tribes and Mahadalits in Bihar. Based on a Facility Survey conducted by Sightsavers in late 2008, these seven districts were identified jointly by the Government of Bihar and Sightsavers for eye health systems strengthening.
Sightsavers started the pilot Public Private Partnership project in Kishanganj District Hospital in April 2009, where cataract surgery services were not available till 2009. With a collaborative approach, Sightsavers made the Kishanganj District Hospital functional for eye care services and till date more than 11,000 cataract surgeries have been done in the Kishanganj District Hospital. People from Kishanganj and adjoining districts of Purnea, Araria, Bhagalpur, Khagaria and Katihar have come to Kishanganj District Hospital and availed of eye care services, particularly cataract surgeries, at the cost of a mere 2 in Kishanganj District Hospital.
Based on the success of the pilot project in Kishanganj District, Sightsavers has scaled up the initiative in Bhagalpur and Munger Districts. Through high level advocacy, visits to the Districts and generous support of Civil Surgeons and District officials, Sightsavers has been able to implement the PPP programme in Bhagalpur and Munger Districts. Sightsavers has also received the support of Dr. DK Raman (Addl. Executive Director, State Health Society, Government of Bihar) in implementing the programme in Bihar.
Sightsavers has supported the renovation of the physical infrastructure of the Eye Department and provided equipment support for Eye Operation Theatre and Eye Out Patient Department, as well as training of human resources in the hospital and training of community health workers like ASHAs for identifying and bringing cataract patients to the Hospital. The Government of Bihar has supported the Programme with its existing health infrastructure, human resource and management support in making the Eye Departments functional.
Shri Sanjay Kumar, Secretary and Mission Director, NRHM, Government of Bihar, along with senior administrative staff from the District (Civil Surgeons, CMO etc.) inaugurated the facilities on 31st August 2013, and dedicated the services to the community.
As Bihar has a high load of cataract affected patients who had to go to Nepal and other states of India for eye care services, the eye care facilities in the District Hospitals in Munger and Bhagalpur will enable people to access eye care facilities in their districts at a nominal cost of INR 2 in a Government Hospital. This will be a huge benefit for the people of Bihar, as they will no longer have to spend huge sums of money on transport and healthcare cost in other States. Sightsavers expresses its thanks and gratitude to the Government of Bihar for piloting this initiative.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. RN Mohanty (CEO, Sightsavers India) said ,“We are very excited to take the Bihar Health System Strengthening Programme to this level; this is purely possible due to the support of the Government.”
Sightsavers is a global development organisation working to eliminate avoidable blindness and to ensure that people who are irreversibly blind receive the support they need to lead lives of independence and dignity.
Sightsavers has been working in India since 1966 on eye health and has reached out to over 35 million people.
Today, we work with partner organisations across major states in India bringing eye healthcare, educational support, counselling, training and leadership development to visually impaired people in some of the least served areas of the country.
We work in a sustainable way to promote lasting change – by strengthening existing health systems, seeking to advocate with and influence governments and by demonstrating best practises. We network with like-minded organisations to enable exchange of ideas and to advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Sightsavers believes in promoting indigenous technologies in eye healthcare enabling a wider reach of health services in India.
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