Thanks to our generous donors, we’re making long-term, sustainable differences in the countries where we work. We recently published our 2016 Report to Donors, and we’re very excited to tell you about the incredible work our donors helped make possible last year. This week, we’ll highlight our work in India. Stay tuned for more updates on Nepal, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia in the weeks to come!
In India, we impacted the lives of more than three million people by partnering with 56 hospitals across 17 states. Early in the year, we launched our first Community-Based Rehabilitation Project in the slums of Bangalore, reaching a population of 66,000 people. Approximately 70 individuals living with incurable blindness or visual impairment are now being provided with medical, educational, economic and social rehabilitation services. We also implemented a Community-Based Diabetic Retinopathy Program in the cities of Kanpur and Jorhat, where we conducted 80 screening programs and screened over 10,000 people for diabetic retinopathy.
We expanded our community eye health projects to 217 and, in collaboration with our partners, declared another 130 villages as avoidable blindness-free in 2016. The prevalence of blindness across all our areas of intervention was reduced by over 27 percent! In addition, nearly 640,000 people received health education from community eye health workers and now know where to seek eye care services in the future.
Through our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health projects, we established 23 Vision Centres, bringing our total in India to 92. These permanent facilities are delivering quality, sustainable eye care services within the communities, and 93 percent have become financially self-sustainable. To further build the capacity of India’s eye health workforce, we also conducted 24 workshops and training programs for over 2,000 eye health professionals.
With support from the Gerald A. Cooper-Key Foundation, we launched a Hospital-Based Community Eye Health project in collaboration with the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Chandraprabha Eye Hospital, our first publicprivate partnership in India. The project was implemented in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, the state with the second highest prevalence of blindness and the lowest cataract surgical rate. Within a few months, we were performing nearly 40 percent of the state’s load of cataract surgeries. By 2018, we expect the Changlang district to become the first avoidable blindness-free district in India.
The Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer, which was established in Hyderabad in late 2015 thanks to support from a Canadian donor family, also expanded its services in 2016. Since its opening, the Institute has screened nearly 40,000 people, diagnosed more than 1,700 patients with eye tumors and performed 6,445 procedures, including surgeries and chemotherapy. In addition to opening a new chemotherapy unit, the Institute trained several ophthalmologists and optometrists as part of its fellowship program, and published research papers in reputable journals.
We were fortunate to partner with two Asian companies to launch new initiatives in India. Working with Pellucid Inc., we introduced new technology at 40 of our Vision Centres, enabling our partners to collect and report data in real time. We also piloted the use of an application for tablet computers, which allowed community health workers to capture door-to-door survey information digitally.
In partnership with Bharat Financial Inclusion Ltd. and other partners, we conducted 857 screening programs across nine states. Together, we screened over 76,000 people for potentially blinding conditions and performed over 15,000 cataract surgeries. All reporting was done online through a software application developed by Operation Eyesight and Pellucid specifically for this project.