National Programme for Control of Blindness

The National Programme for Control of Blindness was launched in 1976 to prevent and reduce the prevalence of blindness in the country. It was extended and functioned as the Word Bank assisted Cataract Blindness Control Project till 30.6.2002. The scheme was then converted into a Centrally Sponsored Scheme and is funded as part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) from the year 2005-06.

The main objective of the programme is to reduce the prevalence of preventable blindness. Towards this goal, the Tamil Nadu State Blindness Control Society was formed as a separate entity from 1.4.1996. The Tamil Nadu State Blindness Control Society has been merged with the State Health Society after the implementation of NRHM in the state. The Project Director in charge of the programme is a senior Ophthalmologist of the rank of Additional Director of Medical Education, who is responsible for the smooth implementation of the scheme. He works under the administrative control of the Secretary to Government, Health Department and the financial control of the Mission Director, State Health Society. The District Blindness Control Societies which were formed to govern the activities of the National Blindness Control Programme with the Collector is the Chairman of the Society have also been merged with the District Health Societies formed under NRHM. Each district has a District Programme Manager who is a senior Ophthalmologist in the district.

TAMIL NADU STATE BLINDNESS CONTROL SOCIETY (TNSBCS)

Blindness is a major problem throughout India. National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) was launched in the year 1976 as a 100% centrally sponsored programme with the goal of achieving a prevalence rate of blindness to 0.3% of population. The four pronged strategy of the programme is :

  • Strengthening service delivery

  • Developing human resources for eye care

  • Promotion outreach activities and public awareness

  • Developing institutional capacity

The implementing of the programme was decentralized in 1994-1995 with formation of District Blindness Control Society in each district of the country. The Society has taken various steps top create awareness among the public regarding the need for the Eye donation. On 1.4.1996, the Tamil Nadu State Blindness Control Society was formed as a separate entity, to give thrust to the goal by planning, execution and monitoring at the District level. The Tamil Nadu State Blindness Control Society is functioning under the control of Mission Director, State Health Society, National Rural Health Mission, and Chennai with effect from 01.04.2007. The Project Director is the Secretary of the Society for the implementing of the scheme. Every district in the state has one District Blindness Control Society to govern the activities of the National Programme for Control of Blindness.

For effective implementation and monitoring of the work at District level, a District Blindness Control Society has been formed in all the Districts. The District Blindness Control Society conducts eye camps with the help of Voluntary Organisations and District Mobile Ophthalmic Units, provides financial assistance to Voluntary Organisations for performing Cataract Operations, undertakes propaganda activities under health education programme in the District and monitors the implementation of the Blindness Control Programme in District level as per the directions of Government of India/State Government/State Blindness Control Society. District Blindness Control Societies are under the Chairmanship of the District Collectors.

The Cataract, being the major cause for the avoidable blindness, was given importance and various infrastructure facilities like base eye wards, dark rooms etc., have been built till 2002 and are now in use. The State has been a pioneer in tackling blindness, particularly arising from cataract.

  • During the year 2012-13 - 6,17,581 persons have been benefitted by cataract surgery.

  • During 2013-14 up to March.14, 590382 persons have been benefitted by cataract surgery.

  • Target achieved is 131%.

  • Against GOI target of 4,50,000 cataract.

Government has taken the following measures to increase the cataract surgeries in

  1. The District Blindness Control Societies are permitted to hire private Ophthalmic Surgeons to do cataract surgeries in Government Institutions and pay Rs.150/- per cataract case.

  2. The District Blindness Control Society is permitted to hire private staff nurses trained in the field of ophthalmic surgery to assist cataract surgeries in Government Institutions and to pay Rs.50/- per cataract case.

The following activities will be carried out during 2104-15

  1. Performing cataract operations and fix Intra Ocular Lens (IOL)

  2. The other eye diseases like Glaucoma, Retinal diseases, Childhood blindness are also treated in the Madras Medical College and other Medical Colleges in the State with infrastructure facilities provided during the year 2012-13 and 2013-14.

  3. Screening of school children for detection of refractive error and provide free spectacles to poor children.

  4. Collection of eyes for transplantation in persons with corneal blindness.

  5. Providing training to eye surgeons in modern cataract surgery and other specialty procedures.

  6. Enhancing capacities for eye care services in public sector by providing assistance to hospitals at various levels.

  7. Development of eye banks and eye donation centres to facilitate collection and processing of donated eyes. Eye bank has been functioning at Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Chennai in co-ordination with Lions International and also at Government Medical College Hospitals at Salem, Coimbatore and Vellore.

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