Sightsavers with the support of Standard Chartered Bank launched the Urban Eye Health Programme also known as Amrita Drishti in Kanpur and Prayagraj of Uttar Pradesh. The intervention primarily focusses on increasing uptake of eye health services through setting up of vision centres in the slum communities, provisioning of eye health services as part of health systems and developing a favourable policy environment through engagement of urban local bodies. The Bank’s participation is under the Seeing is Believing by Standard Chartered, a global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
Kanpur and Prayagraj are the largest cities covered under the National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) by the Government of Uttar Pradesh inhabiting many slum dwellers. Additionally, Sightsavers has been working in the two cities (Kanpur and Prayagraj) and have established a network of partner hospitals and organisations in the area of eye health. Sightsavers has collaborated with Standard Chartered Bank to make the eye care services available for the people from the lowest economic strata and hence, contribute to the reduction of avoidable blindness in these cities. A total of 10 vision centres have been inaugurated across these two cities in the first week of October. Incidentally, October 8 is being celebrated as World Sight Day, globally to raise awareness on eye health and prevent avoidable blindness.
RN Mohanty, CEO, Sightsavers India said, “Our partnership with Standard Chartered Bank for one more project is an extremely proud moment for us. Their constant support has helped us in tremendous ways to reduce avoidable blindness in the country. This is yet another fortunate moment for us to increase the accessibility of primary eye care services to those who need them the most.”
Karuna Bhatia, Head – Sustainability, India, Standard Chartered Bank said, “Serving communities and creating a safe environment at the grassroots for people to access essential health services including for eye care is vital. Standard Chartered Bank and Sightsavers have a successful history of working together in India. Under this project, Standard Chartered Bank will ensure support to Sightsavers for the establishment of primary eye care services by using the existing health structures of government and other public health systems.”
The overall goal of this project is to contribute to the reduction of avoidable blindness in the urban slums of these two cities in Uttar Pradesh. The project will work within WHO’s health systems framework including human resource development, infrastructure with technological development, health financing, medicines, consumables, health information systems and service delivery. The intervention will address the issues of cataract, refractive error, and diabetic retinopathy. By addressing these priority conditions in one of the poorest communities in India, the project, with Standard Chartered Bank support will enable Sightsavers to take a step closer towards achieving the goals of universal eye health at the local level.