Cataract Eye Surgery during 2011-2013 we visited in one year 684 villages. All villages were visited 2 times. In 566 villages more than one person has been helped with restoration of vision by Cataract Eye Surgery.
118 villages are new and in the adjoining area to Muniguda. We have had 5% of new cataract blind persons coming from this area in 2009 to 2011.There is a very good system working. We have organized a ‘central village. One Volunteer ‘contact’ is responsible to visit between 30 and 40 villages each year. The ‘contacts’ have all received Eye Care Training by New Hope and are able to offer low cost medical care or medications. They must also be in their village on the 3 nights of the full moon. In these nights many people walk along forest oaths to visit other villages. In our ‘central’ village this means that many of the people who need eye care or have family members with eye problems now come to ‘central village’ contacts of New Hope India. If the person is cataract blind their name is registered and sent on a Postcard to New Hope India.
If any person or child has an eye injury of any kind they come with the volunteer ‘contact person to New Hope. It is a system that ensures new persons are contacted and those who had single eye surgery are checked. It also means that all children have their eyes checked for Vitamin A deficiency.
Cataract Eye Surgery
New Hope Rural Leprosy Trust is still the senior Non Government Organization on the Government District Blindness Eradication Board (Committee). The committee encourages and supervises and monitors Primary Health Care Clinics to ensure that people know about eye care. We reach out to schools with Eye Care messages including prevention of Night Blindness. New Hope has taken its own area and ensures that all schools in our area have information. The Chief District Medical Officer also recognizes the difficulty for the District Hospital to carryout non risk eye surgery. We have the support of the Doctor in charge. New Hope is still the only recognized Hospital for Cataract Eye Surgery. Through our contact system with Government Primary Health Care Centre we had patients referred to us by the Head Nurses of the Centres and from the Doctors who work in the smaller Hospitals in the District.
VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY – BLINDNESS – Only three children were referred to us for Night Blindness and they came from the adjoining District where poverty and poor food diet is like our own Tribal village area.
In the area where we work directly and covering a population of 346,582 we believe that the Vitamin A deficiency has been eliminated at 94>97%. Our prevention of Vitamin A deficiency is helped over the years Vitamin A tablets.
We are again very happy with the Teacher co-operation in the School Education project that promoted Eye knowledge and Eye care. We gave students upper primary school classes in the District GREEN LEAF VEGETABLE SEED PACKS. The overall participation with the students was really positive.
It is very true to say that we have changed the level of vision among the Tribal poor. The aged leprosy patients have the best eye care possible in all of the colonies where we work. We are offering visually affected HIV+ children quality Care.
Blindness for anyone anywhere across the world is a day to day traumatic experience and challenge. The fear of falling over, hitting into something, not being able to find something important – like your food! – Not able to work; are all part of the blindness life.
In a leprosy colony it often, too often, simply means not being able to go out and beg. Begging is the survive work of many leprosy patients. (Caring for aged leprosy patients through cataract surgery and Love Bundles changes their life).
In a rural Tribal village where the majority live at poverty level as indicated by low birth weights of children and under 5 child weights; every one works at some level to be part of the survival situation. Elder people, especially women care for small children while parents are in the forest collecting food, foraging for firewood that can be sold in the local market. Many aged, with family children tend goat herds of people in adjoining villages from different caste who have incomes and land. Aged also are usually responsible for the collection of firewood for the family cooking. Cataract blindness robs them of these responsibilities. It turns them into social and economical burdens.
Cataract eye surgery changes the whole scenario. Because of the tough conditions of living in a tribal hill forest village we usually gives aged widows a months food supply when they go back after the surgery. It takes pressure off them while recovering.