Narayana Nethralaya to help check infant blindness in Karnataka

Bengaluru, April 1 (IANS) The Karnataka government has permitted leading private eye care hospital Narayana Nethralaya to use the premises of state-run hospitals across the state for eradicating infant blindness, a top executive said on Friday.

“The state government has allowed our hospital to freely screen the affected infants at the state-run hospitals across the state under our Karnataka Internet Assisted Diagnosis of Retinopathy of Prematurity (Kidrop) programme,” Nethralaya chairman K. Bhujang Shetty told reporters here.

The corporate hospital has been partnering with the national health mission of the central government since 2009 in a PPP model, with the state government providing the equipment.

“Unlike earlier, the state government will not provide equipment or financial support to our teams, as we have invested in acquiring them for the dedicated service,” Shetty asserted.

Prevention of Blindness Week is observed every year from April 1-7 since 1960 across the country, while the World Health Organisation unveiled the right to sight’ campaign to prevent blindness.

According to Shetty, Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a leading cause of childhood blindness for a middle income country like India.

ROP affects pre-term low birth weight infants and can cause permanent irreversible blindness, though largely preventable.

KIDROP program director Anand Vinekar said web-based interactive education, training and certification is being offered to produce more ROP technicians to penetrate deeper into remote villages facing the health problem.

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