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Andhra Pradesh aims to become free from corneal blindness by the year 2025

Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh): Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has launched the Andhra Pradesh Eye Banking Initiative to make the state free from corneal blindness by the year 2025.

Naidu also launched the Tej Kohli Eye Bank at the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI)’s Kode Venkatadri Chowdary Campus in Vijayawada, which completed five years on February 16.

The Andhra Pradesh Nodal Eye Bank at Vijayawada will also be a Centre of Excellence that will maintain the pledge registry and transplant waitlist, oversee quality standards, and lead training and development.

Tej Kohli Eye Bank is the fourth in LVPEI’s network of eye banks. The other three being: Ramayamma International Eye Bank at Kallam Anji Reddy Campus, Hyderabad; Drushti Daan Eye Bank at LVPEI, Bhubaneswar; and Mohsin Eye Bank at GMR Varalakshmi campus, Visakhapatnam.

The Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam Eye Banks will together serve as the Andhra Pradesh Eye Banking Initiative. The Andhra Pradesh Government fully endorses this initiative with SightLife of US being a technical supporter, according to a statement by LVPEI.

It is estimated that Andhra Pradesh will have over 55,000 people with corneal blindness by the year 2025. With the current provision of corneal services, only about 11,000 of them will get a chance to see again through corneal transplant.

In order to achieve the goal of making Andhra Pradesh free from corneal blindness, LVPEI has proposed a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Andhra Pradesh Government to create an integrated eye banking system for the state that will oversee the linkage of all regional large, medium and small eye banks in the state.

L V Prasad Eye Institute had earlier announced strategic initiatives for the next 25 years and identified the Academy of Eye Care Education as one of the initiatives to bridge the human resource crunch in the eye health provider to patient ratio. Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu launched the Vijayawada component of this initiative on Friday.

The lack of trained eye care professionals is a major stumbling block for the implementation of eye care programmes throughout India and the developing world. LVPEI’s Academy of Eye Care Education will enhance the capacity thrice over and sharpen the quality, employing current methods of instruction, and become an umbrella organization for all the education efforts across the LVPEI network, the statement said.

Dr Kamineni Srinivas, Minister for Health, Medical Education & Family Welfare, Andhra Pradesh, launched the Children’s Eye Health Initiative. With support from the United States Agency for International Development (US AID), LVPEI is implementing the project in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh.

The main objective of the Children’s Eye Health Initiative is prevention of vision loss through awareness campaigns and providing eye screening services. Around 250,000 children will be covered under this project, which will be extended to other parts of the state.

Dr Gullapalli N Rao, founder and chairperson, L V Prasad Eye Institute, said, “These initiatives assume significance as LVPEI has consistently demonstrated the highest level of competency in all its engagements, building for itself and the country a global reputation for best-in-class competencies, unique service delivery methods and service results, and world-class education programmes.”

The LVPEI network currently includes a Centre of Excellence at Hyderabad, three tertiary centres in Bhubaneswar, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, 15 secondary care service centres and 130 primary care vision centres that cover the remotest rural areas in the four states of Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

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