• Through the solar-powered centers, eye care nonprofit Orbis is providing services benefitting over 2 million people in rural communities
• Five of the centers are women-run, promoting gender equity
New Delhi, April 26th, 2022– Orbis International announces the recent opening of 18 Green Vision Centers that are making quality eye care services more readily available for children in rural communities in India’s Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal states. Each Center has been designed for minimal carbon impact and is strategically located to serve a population of over 100,000. 14 Centers are opened with support from USAID and the Lavelle Fund for the Blind. All 18 Centers are run in coordination with Orbis local partners.
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Green Vision Centers are an innovative approach that not only improves the quality of eye health in communities that have traditionally lacked access to care, but also operates with sustainability at the forefront. The Centers run on solar power, a solution that is environmentally friendly and helps to overcome challenges caused by frequent power outages, ensuring that eye care remains uninterrupted regardless of access to electricity. Outreach teams at the Centers also leverage electric scooters while conducting local school and door-to-door screenings and creating awareness among the community.
“More children are blind in India than in any other country, and in over half of cases, sight could be restored with early intervention and treatment,” said Dr. Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director for Orbis India.
“Ensuring that families can access their children’s care close to home is critical to overcoming this challenge. That’s why I’m so proud of the Green Vision Centers in operation today – with all the potential they represent for children, for rural communities and for our planet.” Dr. Rishi Raj Borah adds.
At the Green Vision Centers, children have free access to eye screenings, glasses and other eye care services. The centers also provide uninterrupted primary eye care services to the community. Routine eye screenings are critical to ensure that conditions are caught early, when they are most likely to be treatable. For complex cases in which more advanced care is needed, each center is connected with an existing hospital for referrals. Staff also conduct screenings and provide glasses to children in schools and daycare centers located in the communities surrounding the centers.
Five of the Green Vision Centers in West Bengal also address a variety of traditional barriers for women and girls. Orbis trained women-led management teams to run the centers, empowering women in the community through job creation and increasing their financial independence. Ten vision technicians and five community health workers have already been trained and employed to work in the new facilities. An added benefit of having female staff is that many women in rural communities in India are more likely to seek eye care for themselves and their children when it is administered by other women.
India was one of the first countries where Orbis established a local office, and the organization has made a far-reaching impact – for children in particular – over the past two decades. When Orbis began working in India, pediatric ophthalmology was not yet seen as a distinct specialty in India, and there was only one eye care center for every 100 million children across the country. Over the years, Orbis has developed a comprehensive network of 33 Children’s Eye Centers across 17 states, with one eye care center for every 20 million children.
In total, Orbis has conducted more than 17.5 million pediatric eye screenings, provided medical and optical treatment to 1.6 million children, performed 103,000 surgeries on children and organized 180,000 ophthalmic trainings completed by doctors, nurses, community health workers and others in India. The 18 new Green Vision Centers are among 22 that Orbis has established across India to date. The Centers are established in collaboration with Susrut Eye Foundation and Research Center, Sitapur Eye Hospital, PBMA’s HV Desai Eye Hospital, Little Flower Hospital and Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital.
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