Project Prakash has been working since 2005 at the very grassroots of India, in hundreds of villages, connecting them to the most sophisticated treatment available and building awareness regarding treatable and preventable blindness. Project Prakash Charitable Trust provides sight treatment free of cost to children who are too poor to afford it or are not aware that their condition can be corrected. The aim is to use a digitalized application with which field workers can easily keep track of, and follow up with, patients with eye pathologies. Read More
Pawan Sinha, Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Merging scientific research with pediatric care, this project has been providing treatment to children with curable blindness, illuminating fundamental questions regarding brain plasticity and learning, and creating a comprehensive picture of pediatric health across several sites in India.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 1.4 million children in the world are blind or visually impaired. Additionally, in almost half of the children who are blind today, the eye condition could be treated to prevent blindness or restore sight. In India, which shoulders the world’s greatest burden of childhood blindness, over 90% of blind children are unable to obtain an education, and fewer than 50% survive to adulthood. Project Prakash is working to address these issues, one Prakash Vision Centre at a time.
Early identification of cases with avoidable blindness: Around 5000 people were screened under the Project during the school screening camps conducted in the first phase of the Project, and during the second and third phases of the Project in outreach eye screening camps, at PVCs, and in household eye screening survey. Of these almost 25-30% patients were identified with refractive error (RE) and around 400 patients were provide spectacles. 10-15% patients were identified with cataracts and other eye problems, and were referred to secondary center for further examination and treatment.
Delivery of high-quality and affordable eye care services: The Prakash Vision Centers are well equipped with all the modern ophthalmic equipment and have qualified and trained staff. The patient-data at both PVCs are collected and recorded digitally. The services at the PVCs are provided to the community at very nominal prices.
Addressing the unmet needs of the underserved and underprivileged populations: The locations of the PVCs were decided based on the community needs assessment carried out by PPCT in Brahmpur and Pali blocks of Gorakhpur. Both these places lacked significant eye care facilities. Thus, the PVCs established under this Project have begun to serve the needs of a large section of a neglected population group.
Gender equity: The PVCs have also played a significant role in serving women. The PVCs are easily accessible to the community women. The time taken to visit PVCs does not affect their daily routine. The other factors which promote gender equity are the PVC staff which have been recruited locally and are known to and belong to the same community. As a result, out of all the patients who have been screened under the Project the majority are females.
Increasing awareness and promoting best eye health practices: The Prakash outreach team and PVC teams have been generating awareness on eye health issues and are motivating the community members to adopt good eye health practices. Thousands of people have been covered under the awareness program.
Encouraging community participation: The PVC teams held meetings with stakeholders which mainly included community leaders, gram panchayat members, ASHA, AWW, and shared with them the activities and strategies of the PVCs. This interaction, in our estimation, has strongly encouraged many local residents to become part of the Project activities.
Creating livelihood: The staff members at the PVCs has been recruited locally and then trained. Thus, the PVCs have played a significant role in generating jobs and creating livelihood in these areas.
Network building: During the implementation, Project Prakash collaborated with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi, and Fatima Hospital, Gorakhpur.
Media and Resources
A rich body of research related to neuroscience, medicine, and education has resulted from the project.
In the News
The scientific and humanitarian goals achieved by Project Prakash have been highlighted in numerous news outlets.