Saving premature babies from the risk of complete blindness
Every year over 15 million babies are born prematurely in India and 20,000 of these babies are at a risk of complete blindness from Retinopathy of Prematurity or ROP. In India, ROP is emerging as a prime cause of vision loss in children.
Aravind Eye Hospital, a pioneer in eye care has come forward with a concept of screening premature babies in underserved and rural areas of India. ROP training is done by trained technicians using retinal camera at government hospitals in rural India. Retinal images of the babies are transmitted to ROB expert sitting at the central reading and grading centre. The babies identified with blinding disease were then immediately referred to the nearby eye hospital.
Dr. V Narendran – Chief Medical officer says – ‘Aravind Hospital was started in the year 1976. With the vision of eradicating needless blindness, we have seven tertiary centres, six secondary centres and 74 mission centres.’
In the year 2015, the ROP telescreening program called ROP SOS was initiated and till date they have screened close to 16,500 premature babies and little more than 300 of them have been prevented from turning blind. In this program, no babies were turned away from treatment because they had no money. At Aravind, they have free sites and the babies are treated for free.
Proposal for HCL grant –
Under health category, Aravind applied for grant for the ‘Use of Tele-Opthalmology in Screening of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).
They would like to use the grant to replicate this model across all their hospitals thereby covering the entire state of Tamil nadu, Kerala , parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
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