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Sightsavers is going to complete five years of its National Truckers Eye Health Programme – RAAHI in September. Since the inception of the programme, we have screened 5,00,000 truck drivers across the country. Recently, as part of the five-year celebration an event ‘Thank you, Truckers’ was organised across 15 vision centres in multiple cities where ophthalmologists educated the truck drivers on eye health and road safety. Eye care interventions with the truckers will help improve the visual functions of truckers yielding an overall impact on road safety.
The trucker’s programme is strategically implemented on the golden Quadrilateral of India (GQI Henceforth). GQI is a network of highways connecting India’s four top metropolitan cities, namely Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, thereby, forming a quadrilateral. Sightsavers chose the geography accounting for two key aspects: Efficiency of coverage and quality of engagement with beneficiaries. Key locations on the GQI vis-a-vis the transport industry include transhipment locations, industrial yards, ports, cargo locations and corporate premises which offer predictable halt and return points for trucking community. This ensures that the programme meets the intended beneficiaries in their natural environment and optimizes the available time to build quality in the delivery of services.
The programme works on a twin approach of Hub and Spoke. Static Vision centers (Hubs) are created at key locations to provide Eye screening, refraction, spectacles, awareness, counselling and referral services in the catchment transport areas; while the distance on the map between major locations is bridged by Eye Screening Camps (Spokes). A strategically girded placement of Hubs and Spokes ensures optimal coverage.
The action under the trucker’s eye health programme is contributing in the fulfilment of SDG Mandate. This includes SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages, and specifically in SDG 3.6: By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. The services provided under the programme contribute to road safety by addressing vision related mishaps on some of the longest national highways of the country. The Government of India’s Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is committed to road safety through its policies and stipulations and has acknowledged Sightsavers RAAHI – truckers eye health programme as a necessary intervention during the programme’s launch in September 2017.