India is the second most populous country in the world and home to over 20% of the world's blind population. Unfortunately, India is also home to the largest number of blind children in any one country.
Additionally, the divide between the rich and poor continues to increase, leaving a significant portion of the population without access to basic healthcare services — most of whom live either in rural India or in urban slums. To further compound the situation, a majority of ophthalmologists in India live and practice in urban areas.
- We launched the India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI), our flagship program in 2002, to help ensure that India’s children across geographies have access to quality eye care for generations to come
- We have also worked in the areas of eye banking, corneal blindness, diabetic retinopathy, advocacy, quality assurance and refractive error
- As a Founder Member of Vision 2020: The Right to Sight India, we are actively involved in the delivery of the “VISION 2020 – Government of India Plan of Action”
Following multiple Flying Eye Hospital programs we identified India as a priority country and established a permanent office in Delhi in 2000. Since then, 31 Children’s Eye Centers (CECs) have been developed with Orbis support across 17 states of the country.
Success in India
- Orbis pioneered the introduction of pediatric ophthalmology services in seven rural districts of India and raised public awareness of how pediatric blindness could be prevented
- Through our role in India’s pediatric eye care and advocacy efforts, the Indian government now includes childhood blindness among its health care priorities
- Orbis has also contributed to the development of pediatric ophthalmology as a distinct sub-specialty in the Indian ophthalmology landscape
- Orbis has been instrumental in creating and promoting the idea of a pediatric ophthalmology team consisting of the pediatric ophthalmologist, optometrist/orthoptist, pediatric anesthetist, pediatric nurse and other support staff such as pediatric patient counselors and outreach coordinators. This team goes beyond the boundaries of the CEC to work integrally with a network of community organizations and volunteers
- We strengthened the concept of a hospital-based corneal retrieval program on a national level, which was instituted in more than a dozen hospitals in India
- Building on our work in Quality Assurance at eye hospitals, we have developed a Quality Resource Center which in now supporting other eye care facilities across India and internationally in Bangladesh and Vietnam