Taraprasad Das is IAPB’s Regional Chair for South East Asia, and is also the Vice-Chair for L V Prasad Eye Institute. He was also the Chair for VISION 2020 India. He discusses some of the achievements of VISION 2020 in this ‘Vision Excellence’ blog series to mark the end of VISION 2020.
What was VISION 2020’s impact on eye care and service delivery in India and the region?
The greatest advocacy has been convincing the Government of India to increasing the eye health financing. VISION 2020 India lobbied for it and the eye health financing increased six folds. The support for eye care has grown beyond cataract surgery and provision of spectacles for uncorrected refractive error; now the Government supports care for diabetes, glaucoma and children eye care.
One of VISION 2020’s key role was to bring eye care to the attention of policy holders –can you think of one or two key politicians from the region who began to take eye care seriously thanks to our advocacy?
Yes, a few [Indian] states were proactive in implementing VISION 2020. Some examples are (in alphabetical order):
- Andhra Pradesh – the state has committed for refractive error screening of all children in the state.
- Kerala – created a robust PPP model for diabetic retinopathy care
- Odisha – Has embarked on a programme to deliver Universal Eye Health, with the mission ‘Vision for All’, by 2022 (A robust and systematic programme)
- Telangana – Has a programme to deliver refractive error correction for the state’s population
VISION 2020 also brought people together. Can you tell me how it brought the different eye care organisations and professional bodies together over the years?
VISION 2020 India started with as 9-member organisation in 2004. Today it is 184-member strong and includes eye care institutes/organisations, INGOS and members from the ophthalmic industry. VISION 2020 India saw this evolution gradually. Their annual conferences, and participation in the annual meeting of the Ophthalmological Society of India and their skill-training workshops brought in more partners and supporters over the years.
What do you think was V2020’s biggest achievement, in the region and globally?
- Advocacy for larger eye health financing
- Advocacy for shorter allied ophthalmic personnel courses (Diploma in Optometry)
- Standardised manuals (SOP) for Cataract Surgery, Primary Eye Care, and Setting up of Secondary Eye Hospitals.
This short Q&A is part of a series of blog posts discussing the difference VISION 2020 made to the sector. We are encouraging IAPB member organisations to nominate individuals to receive the ‘Vision Excellence Awards’ to mark the end of VISION 2020. Send in your nominations!