Mobile Tele-Ophthalmology Units
CDAC, Thiruvananthapuram has won the prestigious Manthan Award 2013 for the Mobile Tele-Ophthalmology Units. Two Mobile Tele-Ophthalmology Units were designed, built and implemented at Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO), Thiruvananthapuram and District Hospital, Palakkad, Kerala. The award was presented on 6th December at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi by Prof (Dr) Peter A Bruck, Chairman, UN's World Summit Award and Ms Poonam Muttereja, Executive Director, Population foundation of India.
Manthan Award is given for digital inclusion for development in 12 categories from the entries received from 36 countries in South Asia and Asia Pacific since 2003.
Mobile Tele-Ophthalmology Units are for screening rural people living far away from hospitals to detect blindness causing diseases like Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy in the early stages. In most cases, these diseases are asymptomatic and can be detected only by screening with Slit Lamp, Fundus Camera and Indirect Ophthalmoscope. Early detection and treatment is essential for prevention of vision loss caused by damage to optic nerve. Damage to optic nerve cannot be reversed. Mobile Tele-Ophthalmology Unit includes specially designed bus, Fundus Camera, Slit Lamp, Indirect Ophthalmoscope, Refraction Unit, Tele-Ophthalmology software, WiMAX/KSWAN connectivity, video conferencing unit, backup generator and water tanks.
These units are wonderful service for prevention of blindness. They are especially helpful for the old, elderly and the less privileged as they can avoid travel and expenditure and have to visit hospital only if serious problem is detected in a screening camp.
"Sunayanam" was commissioned on 17.2.2011 at RIO, Thiruvananthapuram and since then it is providing yeoman service to the rural people of Palode, Neyyattinkara, Vizhinjam, Chiranyankeezhu, Peroorkada. "Nayanapadham" was commissioned on November 10, 2012 at District Hospital, Palakkad and providing services to the tribal areas like Attappady, Parambikulam, and rural areas like Kuzhalmandam, Malampuzha, Mankara, Chalisseri, Muthalamada etc.
As on 15.8.2013, RIO, Thiruvananthapuram and District Hospital, Palakkad has conducted 270 screening camps in rural areas and screened 8403 patients, detected 428 Glaucoma and 1014 Diabetic Retinopathy cases. These people were subsequently given treatment.
The efficient management of the blindness control program by RIO, Thiruvananthapuram and District Hospital Palakkad and whole hearted support given by the Health Department and District Panchayath, Palakkad ensures smooth running of the program in both hospitals. The results of the camps clearly establish that replication of this program in all other districts of Kerala will drastically reduce blindness since Kerala suffers badly from diabetes, nearly 20% of the population.