Dr. Shakti Prasad Subedi on behalf of Nepal Red Cross Society Surkhet Eye Hospital
To reduce cataract blindness through the provision of surgical and primary eye care services in Karnali province, Nepal
Karnali is the least developed of seven provinces in Nepal. Eye care services in Karnali are limited to those provided by non-governmental organizations and eye surgery is only available in Surkhet Eye Hospital, located in the capital of Karnali province.
According to the Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness survey 2010, the prevalence of blindness in Karnali province is 0.86%, with cataracts responsible for 65% of visual impairments. Currently, many of the population are not screened and treated for cataracts due to lack of resources and facilities.
This project aims to address cataract impairment by implementing mobile screening and surgical camps to address the existing cataract backlog. Primary eye care services will be integrated into government health facilities and will provide basic eye care training to government health personnel. The project will serve 20,000 people living in hard to reach areas and restore the sight of 2,000 people annually through hospital and outreach services.
Project Update: During this project, 82 local government health personnel were trained to deliver basic eyecare services and strengthen the ophthalmic referral system. Primary eyecare services were also successfully integrated into government health systems in Surkhet, Rukum and Dailekh district. 91 screening camps were carried out in different districts of Karnali province, and 10,195 people living in remote areas were examined. School screening was also integrated into this, with 9,762 students screened and 81 spectacles distributed free of cost. 2,238 low-cost spectacles were further provided to individuals diagnosed with presbyopia. 1,444 individuals were referred to the hospital and surgical eye camps, with 1,250 free cataract surgeries subsequently performed. Overall, this initiative significantly reduced cataract backlog and helped improve eyecare access in remote areas.