Ambala, September 29
The Ambala Health Department will run a campaign for which community health officers and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) will be trained to identify people suffering from corneal blindness and cataract.
Health officers, ANMs to be roped in
A trained workforce of nearly 80 community health officers and about 200 ANMs would screen the population. ASHA workers would be roped in at a later stage. Training at the block level will begin soon.
Dr Sukhpreet Singh, Additional Senior Medical Officer
Since April, as per data, nearly 7,000 cataract and 168 keratoplasty surgeries have been performed at government and private hospitals in the district. While the facility of cataract surgery is available at the Government Hospital, for corneal transplants, the cases are referred to the PGIMER, Chandigarh; GMCH-32 and PGIMS, Rohtak. Line listing is undertaken and patients are called for surgery as per the availability of cornea, which is a major issue.
Dr Rajesh Gupta, an eye surgeon at the Civil Hospital, Ambala City, said: “Cataract is an age-related issue and usually happens after the age of 45, but it is being reported in the younger population, too. Longer use of steroids, metabolic conditions of the body, trauma, electrocution, and diabetes are some reasons. It is easily detected and surgery is done to restore vision.”
“Corneal blindness can be due to an injury caused by a foreign body, trauma, congenital, unprotected exposure to UV rays from a welding torch, and chemicals. In keratoplasty surgery, the damaged cornea is replaced with the cornea of a healthy donor. A large number of people are waiting for cornea, but the availability of donors is very low,” he said.
Dr Sukhpreet Singh, Additional Senior Medical Officer, Ambala, stated: “Corneal blindness and cataract are some of the major causes of vision impairment. Sometimes people don’t get their eyes tested in time, leading to blindness. We have decided to run a drive to screen the population for cataract and corneal blindness under the Ayushman Bhava campaign.”
A trained workforce of nearly 80 community health officers, and about 200 ANMs would screen the population. “The department will strive to cover the maximum population by December-end. The campaign will be run with the help of the Rotary Club, Ambala Central,” he added.
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