Guest Post : Brief Brush With Bollywood

By Bhavana Pande

A Mumbai Eye Care Campaign representative and a bollywood buff by heart had a brief brush with bollywood past these couple of months. We all know of the impact of these known glamorous faces on the people where it’s beyond mere entertainment that people want to know more, live like their stars and desire to once wave and touch them! And probably this craze for reel heroes helps when an Amitabh Bachchan announces ‘Zindagi ke do boond’ to create a desired effect!

We hear stories of how these celebrities yearn for promoting their work and boost their image by adapting a benevolent style but on the other hand also have those unspoken incidents where they have done their bit for the society without making much hullabaloo. I presume I am opportune to meet the later ones more often.

Though we tried to touch many celeb hearts past these few months we managed to sit table across discussing the campaign with Rahul Bose in his own organization office called ‘Foundation’ which works against Sexual Abuse of Children and also supports the education of few tsunami affected kids. Here we met a Rahul who was already suffocated with the many causes he is supporting and many bodies he is representing already.”

After a popular demand at our office we contacted Cine star Naseeruddin Shah and managed to get his appointment at his shooting set in Goregaon, Mumbai. Shweta, Nitin and myself were inside a half constructed five star hotel wherein the owner seems to prove the world in his own way that to what extent a place can throttle you. The interiors were stinking rich and made you feel so dispirited. When we reached the hotel room where the camera was rolling we saw a Naseer who is about to collapse after 10 retakes only for “kaun? Woh!” by Mr. Dev Anand!

After the shot when Naseerji walked towards is room probably with the intention to scream aloud the aggravation we followed him and reminded him of our appointment.

To our surprise we were politely invited inside the room offered tea and then we got to interact with a true larger than life persona who was very patient, sensitive and mature to understand what we communicated.”Mujhe woh ribbon kaatne mat bulaana.Let me do something substantial” is what he wanted to say. We also presented him a Sightsavers Souvenir to which he smiled gently and said thank you!

Leaving I lingered how thankful he might be to get our ears to ventilate his feelings after working three long days in that hotel with Dev Anand for a movie of which Naseerji had no idea about!


GoAP and Sightsavers State Level Training for 350 PMOOs Launched

"Modern trends in Delivery of Eyecare" was the topic chosen by GoAP and Sightsavers International to orient 350 Paramedic Ophthalmic Officers (PMOO) spread across 23 districts of the state at Sankar Foundation, Vishakhapatnam.

It was the first time that training for paramedic ophthalmic officers was organized comprehensively on the newly launched programmes like Aarogyashree, 104 Mobile Van (also called as HMRI's Fixed Day Health Scheme) and teleophthalmology. Since, the PMOO (new terminology for Paramedic Ophthalmic Assistants) has been recognized as the referral link in all these innovative programmes launched by government, it was imperative to host this training.

While Dr Mothilal, Joint Director- AP NPCB volunteered to take session on "How to make cataract free zone", resource persons were called in from district or regional level officials from Aarogyashree scheme, HMRI and Regional Eye Hosptial (for teleophthalmology) respectively. The training also included practical demonstration of 104 mobile fan, interaction with Aarogyamitra (person appointed at base hospital by Govt.) and their role.

To cover the entire state, districts have been divided into three phases:

Phase 1: Districts (10)July 20th – 21st : Srikakulam, Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagaram
July 23rd -24th : East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna
July 27th – 28th : Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Chittor

Phase 2: Districts (6)
August 17th – 18th : Cuddapah, Ananthpur, Kurnool
August 20th – 21st : Mehboobnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam

Phase 3: Districts (6)September 7th – 8th : Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nizamabad
September 10th- 11th: Adilabad, Karimnagar, Warangal

* Hyderabad was not included.

This is the third time, when Sightsavers has organized a joint state level training (technically as well as financially) in Andhra Pradesh after conducting DPM training for two consecutive years. After approval from Dr L V Subhramanyam (Prinicipal Health Secretary) we foresee more such training programmes for ophthalmic personnels across all cadres in partnership with the government.

*Click on the photo for large view.

With all this effort, a message has been clearly sent to the key decision makers of the state that inclusion of eyecare is a step towards achieveing primary healthcare for the bottom of the pyramid.

Let's not get blurred by the launch of technology ignoring the immensely able human resource as ultimately it will be a human who will be treated by a human.


Vision 2020 Celebrated World Sight Day, New Delhi

I know you might be expecting another update on MEC's eye care mela held at Dharavi. Though, for a change, I am taking you to the national celebration by VISION 2020 on 7th and 8th Oct, 2009 held at IDSA Auditorium, Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis, New Delhi. This year's WSD theme was “Gender & eye health – equal access to care”.

On 7th Oct, under session 2 on VISION 2020 INDIA member organizations’ Perspective and Experiences, Sightsavers representative Ms Shanthakumari Gopal from North East Area Office (Kolkatta) got the opprotunity to share the experiences of on gender issues. Her presentation
titled "Gender Inequity: Findings from research and experiential learning" started with case study followed by the concept of gender, its impact, facts and its correlation with eye health.
Some highlights from the presentation are as follows:
- On average, the rate cataracts are operated is 1.5 times higher for men than women
- Blind or visually impaired women may not seek examination and care because of cultural constraints, cost, Travel or lack of access to information
- When women are denied equal access to health services, education and employment they are less able to care for themselves and their family
Later in the evening a media meeting and dinner was organized with the brand ambassodor of VISION 2020, Ms Hema Malini.

While day 1 (7th Oct) witnessed a full day discourse on the theme of WSD, day 2 (8th Oct) called for a half day discussion on "Integrating eye health in the National Health
System – A Gender based perspective" under the chair of Dr G V S Murthy (AIIMS).


Advocacy Initiative in Andhra Pradesh : Public Private Partnership with GoAP and HMRI

L to R : Dr Rao - Founder , Myself, Manimala - CEO, Dr Subramanyam - Principal Health Secretary, AP, inaugurating the mobile diagnostic van equipped with state of the art eyecare equipments. 

HMRI, Sightsavers International and Government of Andhra Pradesh have come together under a public-private partnership (PPP) to augment healthcare delivery systems in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Under the partnership, HMRI has implemented a state-of-the-art 24x7 health helpline, serving the 80 million people of Andhra Pradesh. Taking the healthcare initiative further, the partnership has also launched 104 Mobile, also called the Fixed Day Health Service, to further expand the scope and delivery of healthcare in rural areas.

The advocacy initiatives of SIAO and the recent meeting on 8th June, 2009 with Dr L V Subramanyam (Prinicipal Secretary - Health and Family Welfare), Dr Mothilal Banothu (Joint Director- NPCB) and Dr A P Ranga Rao - Chief Advisor (HMRI) has resulted in addition of eye health component in training of HMRI (mobile van staff) across the state. Its our pleasure to state that Sigthsavers International has been recognized as a training partner for eye health by GoAP.

Vehicle donated by Sightsavers International with state of the art equipment for easy diagnosis on the go. 
Some of the important decisions taken during the meeting were as follows:

1- Sightsavers is recognized as training partner for eye health component for rreparation of standardized training material and module. These modules will be used to train the 475 mobile van (one staff) of HMRI across the state and also to train the RMPs (as part of HMRI diploma course) recognized by AP Paramedic Board.

2- Sankar Foundation as one of the referral centre for Diabetic Retinopathy in Vizag region. As a result, Mr L V Subramanyam accepted our invitation to inaugurate the mobile DR van at Sankar Foundation on 12th June, 2009. Attended by all government ophthalmic functionaries from Vishakhapatnam, Vizianagram and Srikakulam district.

3- Principal Secretary proposed to conduct state level workshops/training for all cadres of ophthalmic personnel at Sankar Foundation in collaboration with Sightsavers International, NPCB and HMRI.
What is Fixed Day Health Scheme ?

The mobile van come running if you call # 104. 
The objective is to create a technology enabled comprehensive, once-a-month fixed day health service that will provide convergence of comprehensive services for the identification, screening, diagnosis, monitoring & treatment, record keeping and referral of high risk cases in each rural habitation beyond 3 kms of any health facility.
It would strengthen the present fixed day services delivered in the habitation by bringing regularity, punctuality, integration, convergence and comprehensiveness using technology supported 475 mobile health units to cover 4 Cr. Population. HMRI was started by Satyam Foundation and it had 5 % stake in this NGO. Although, last quarter 5% stake is bought by GVK.


Andra Pradesh DPM Workshop : Cataract Management Protocols, 27-28 April 2009

Summary :
Sightsavers strategy map states that our work should contribute in ensuring provision of quality eye care universally in government institutions and available as integral part of wider health system. Advocacy and working with government is one of the priority areas for SIAO as per the new strategic framework (2009- 2013). We aspire to collaborate in every possible way in order to minimize duplication of resources and efforts.

It does so through conducting a two day workshop on cataract management protocols for District Programme Managers of Andhra Pradesh. This workshop attempted to find the gaps between the expected and existing quality standards of district level eyecare facilities. The gaps have been identified qualitatively as well as quantitatively. While the qualitative parameters stressed on minimum quality protocols to be followed clinically, quantitative parameters embraced minimum performance output expected out of each human resource personnel at district level, respectively.

It does not claim to have all the answers, but suggests measures that state and national level policy-makers, eyecare partners and training institutions can use to advocate for equitable quality services across all socio-economic strata.

Action Points Implemented from DPM Meeting, 2008 :

The first breakthrough with AP State Blindness Control Society came in September 2008. It was then we organized SIAO’s first ever D.P.M. Meeting in Andhra Pradesh in association with AP Ophthalmic Society organized at Vijayawada. Since then, we have received full support from Dr Mothilal Bonathu, Joint Director – AP National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) in exploring the ways of working together.

The meeting generated a helm of concepts blending public and private stakeholders. The outcome of first DPM meeting resulted in partnership of Rotary Netra Eye Hospital, Vishakhapatnam with GREHTN (Government Regional Eye Hospital Teleophthalmology Network). Another step towards success from this meeting was evolution of concept for public private partnership between Sankar Foundation, Vishakhapatnam with HMRI (Health Management Research Institute) and Rajiv Gandhi Health Mission.

With these positive developments in last two quarters, SIAO planned second DPM workshop specifically on improving quality of cataract management. This workshop also witnessed mutual resource sharing between Sightsavers International, GoI NPCB (AP) and LVPEI.

1. Review the situation analysis of the eye care services in Andhra Pradesh.
2. To update knowledge of DPMs on the current best practices for cataract surgeries.
3. Discuss a common minimum clinical protocol that needs to be maintained.
4. Expression of interest to work together at all the levels from service delivery to advocacy with Sightsavers partners.

Immediate Output of the Workshop :

The Joint Director of NPCB (Andhra Pradesh) has endorsed the Sightsavers Standardization Manual (Guidelines for : Quality Catract Management in Secondary Level Eye Centres) prepared in collaboration with Venu Eye Institute and Research Centre with Sewa Rural, Jhagadia though a circular to all the 23 DPMs of the state.

Expected Outcomes:
  • Action plan for 2009 -2010 enlisting milestones to achieve in collaboration.

  • Availability of quality clinical services to the eye care beneficiaries of Andhra Pradesh integrated through Government service providers and our partners.

  • Better understanding of trainees on core issue of Quality and Management in eye care programmes and day to day work leading to improved performance.

  • Positive relation building with Sightsavers partners on field leading to solve trivial issues arising from administrative lacunae.
The action points and forward feed of this workshop is under documentation.