Year 1: In its first year, the project team performed extensive rural outreach, which helped uncover the pressing medical needs of those in the communities and the potential ways to address them. The data revealed that a significant proportion of the rural population suffers from uncorrected refractive errors (UREs). Given how critically socialization, education, and safety depend on good visual acuity, the lack of refractive correction has a dramatically adverse impact on this population’s quality of life. In collaboration with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, the Project Prakash team began research activities and data collection, and organized eye screening camps in four Delhi schools.
Year 2: Over the course of six months, the Prakash team surveyed more than 2,000 people to get a better sense of available ophthalmic facilities and service providers in their area. During this period, Project Prakash (in coordination with Fatima Hospital in Uttar Pradesh) organized 12 eye-screening camps in different parts of Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
In addition to the eye check-up, people received counseling on various issues related to eye health. During the screening camp, field workers visited various blocks in Gorakhpur and collected information in a digital form from those who were screened. From there, two blocks were proposed for new PVCs, and a web-based data collection app was developed.
Year 3: In 2019, PPCT opened the two PVCs in Brahmpur and Pali blocks of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, and screened several patients. Those diagnosed with refractive error have been provided with glasses. The PVC team also conducted 16 awareness sessions in the PVC areas to educate people about various eye health issues. Studies worked towards understanding of the nature and magnitude of eye care needs in rural settings with the goal of developing a sustainable supply-chain model that would allow for ongoing record-keeping and monitoring by the Prakash team in New Delhi.
During COVID-19, the team disseminated related information and continued to build awareness, educating the residents about prevention measures, distributing supplies such as sanitizers and masks, and conducting thermal screenings to identify positive cases in these areas. The services at PVCs have now resumed, with requisite safety protocols in place. The team is also in the process of creating a constellation of state and non-state actors to facilitate the sharing of resources between healthcare providers.