Tapobrat began his eye health career in 2013 as a project coordinator at Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya hospital in Assam, India. He was responsible for implementing Operation Eyesight’s Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Project (HBCEHP) model in Sonapur. This was among the first HBCEH projects to be launched by Operation Eyesight, and Tapobrat was instrumental in its successful implementation. Through this project, more than 4,000 people received treatment for eye health issues and more than 10,000 people received a pair of eyeglasses. In 2018, the project area was declared avoidable blindness-free by the governor of Assam. Thanks to Tapobrat’s leadership, many of the community health workers he selected and trained in 2013 are still engaged with Sri Sankaradeva Nethralaya in varying capacities.
In 2016, Tapobrat officially joined Operation Eyesight as a project manager to implement the Avoidable Blindness-Free Arunachal Pradesh (ABFAR) project, Operation Eyesight’s first project in collaboration with the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment and the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. The project was implemented in a remote location of Arunachal Pradesh to reach people who did not have access to eye health services. Throughout the project, Tapobrat regularly visited village-level eye screening camps with government ophthalmic assistants and motivated them to provide the best care possible to the local communities. He also used his community mobilization skills and knowledge of the local language to encourage people to access eye care services at government eye care facilities. This project received significant recognition at the national level due to its unique approach to providing community-level eye care. Following the successful implementation of the ABFAR project, in 2020, an Integrated Primary Eye Care Programme was launched in 10 districts in Arunachal Pradesh, and it has been scaled up in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya.
To date, Tapobrat has trained over 300 primary health care staff from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. Through Operation Eyesight’s Vision Centre-Based Community Eye Health project, he has also trained an additional 45 community health workers. He currently looks after 39 vision centres across five states of India and oversees various projects in Nepal and Bangladesh. His commitment to the community and dedication to reducing avoidable blindness makes Tapobrat a valuable leader in the eye health sector. The impact of his leadership and community-focused work will continue to create positive change in the lives of others – For All The World To See.
“I was born in the North-Eastern region of India, which is difficult to work in due to a lack of proper connectivity, infrastructure and trained manpower. Since childhood, I have seen many senior community members live their last part of life with blindness, but a simple cataract surgery would have changed that. Now, I am fortunate to contribute to the elimination of avoidable blindness from my region. In my role, I strategically plan and implement Operation Eyesight’s community eye health programmes, so that we can generate awareness towards eye health and ensure that the maximum number of people receive services.”
– Tapobrat Bhuyan