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The Trust and the Public Health Foundation of India launch ROP Initiative in Maharashtra

Published: 27.04.2017

Press Release: 26 April

Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) causes babies to needlessly lose their vision. It is one of the leading causes of blindness in premature infants in India.

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and the Public Health Foundation of India are launching a Retinopathy of Prematurity Initiative in the western state of Maharashtra. The project will train staff to screen for ROP, provide support services, and conduct research to tackle the disease.

India has the largest number of preterm births in the world. “Our goal is to help support sustainable and scalable services for the detection and prevention of severe retinopathy of prematurity which are integrated into the Government of India’s health care system”, explained Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive at the Trust.

The Retinopathy of Prematurity Initiative is being piloted in a number of districts in Maharashtra. The Initiative will work to ensure that preterm babies weighing less than 4lbs or born before 34 weeks will be screened for retinopathy of prematurity within 30 days after birth. If the condition is detected, the project will aim to provide treatment within 48 hours so more babies like Kumran will be saved from a life of blindness. 

Dr Deepak Sawant, Minister of State for Public Health and Family Welfare who will officially launch the project said:

“I am confident that the Retinopathy of Prematurity project will be successful in Maharashtra and help us to eliminate avoidable blindness in premature infants. I welcome the steps taken by the Indian Institute of Public Health – Hyderabad in bringing us together to tackle this important issue.”  

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