Gangtok, October 1st, 2021: Today, the Health Minister Of Sikkim Hon. Dr. M. K Sharma launched the State-Wide Universal Eye Health Programme “Ujjyalo” from New STNM Hospital Auditorium, Gangtok in presence of Health Minister Shri M. K Sharma. The project aims to create Sikkim as the first avoidable blindness free state in the country and has been implemented in collaboration with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government Of Sikkim and will be implemented State-wide throughpartner Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital, the biggest Lions Club Eye Hospital systems in India based at Siliguri. The disability inclusive eye health programme is been funded by CBM, an international development organization working to eradicate avoidable blindness from the world.
The launch programme was also joined by Shri. K. Sreenivasulu Additional Chief Secretary, Dept. Of Health & Family Affairs; Dr. K. B Gurung Medical Superintendant, STNM Hospital; State Programme Officer Dr. Sangeeta Pradhan, Dept. of H & FW; Dr. DikiOngmuShenga, HOD Opthalmology;Ms. Sarah Varughese Country Director CBM; Shri P. K Shah Founder and Chairman Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital; Shri P. C Maskara Past Chairman &PDG Lions Club Dist. 322 F; Dr. Rajesh Saini, CEO Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital along with other attending dignitaries from the State Health Fraternity, Pharma companies, Lions Club members, Media etc.
Under the programme the Hospital will be investing 3 crore rupees to create accessible quality eye care spaces across Sikkim, including system strengthening of the available eye health infrastructure of the Government of Sikkim. The programme by CBM will see openingof 3 more primary eye care centresin Sikkim after earlier inaugurated primary eye care centres at Jorethang and Mangan, including starting of the first Tele-Ophthalmology Mobile Eye Clinic. With special focus on the people with disabilities and the elderly, the programme will also have special provision including children under the school eye health initiative with prime focus to inculcate health seeking and participatory behavior in them to access timely eye care.The 3-year project also has provision under which it will identify 10 girls from humble families to provide them with free Ophthalmic training for 2 years and integrate them back within their local communities helping them adopt their community and cater to their eye care needs.
Addressing the visiting dignitaries Shri P. K Shah, Founder and Chairman of Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital said, “the programme was first envisaged long back in August 2019 during the visit of the Hon. Chief Minister of Sikkim Shriman P. S Golay at our hospital when we first discussed about a state wide blindness control programme and envisioned Sikkim asa state with all its population avoidable blindness free. We are thankful to our partner CBM who agreed to walk with us length to length and supported us for this dream project, and the Dept. Of Health and Family welfare of Sikkim for whom Sikkim’s welfare was uncompromisable.” After the launch of the programme Hon. Health Minister Dr. M. K Sharmasaid, ”We the people of Sikkim have an unprecedented faith upon humanity, on each other, as this community is built on this shared trust& mutual values. Hence, we never fail to believe in our friends, and allies. I clearly understand the commitment with which the Lions of Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital wants to reach out to my state Sikkim. And despite of the global pandemic they took small but firm steps into creating the foundation for today’s event. With every launch first at Mangan and then at Jorethangwe were reaching closer to this universal eye health goal. I personally will see that this dream of making the state avoidable blindness free in conducted hassle free andreceives necessary support to reach its resolve.”
Maintaining the COVID restrictions, the event was also attended virtually by Country Director CBM Sarah Varughese, and dignitaries from CBM, Mission For Vision, Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital and Government of Sikkim. In her virtual speech Ms. Sarah Varughese Country Director CBM said, “CBM is committed to eradicate avoidable blindness among people with disabilities living in marginalized communities from across the Globe. When Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital first brought the project to us,looking into the detailed and extensive study to conceptualize the programme especially it’s inclusive nature to address eye care needs of every individual we realized that the programme is in complete alignment to our goals and priority areas. Coming together we really waited for this day to come. We will ensure than every step from here that we take brings more sustainability, and participation from among them’
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CBM is an international Christian development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest communities of the world.
The world is making progress in tackling poverty. However, persons with disabilities are left behind. One in seven of us has a disability. That is more than one billion people around the world! 80 per cent of whom live in low middle income countries.
Based on our Christian values and more than 100 years of professional expertise, we address poverty as a cause and a consequence of disability. We work in partnership to create an inclusive society for all.
The emphasis throughout our work is on local capacity development in poorer regions of the world. This increases service delivery in the fields of healthcare, education, rehabilitation and livelihood development as well as organisational development of partner organisations.
About Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital
Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital (SGLEH) is a registered non-profit, non Govt. premier philanthropic organization in North Bengal. The services rendered by SGLEH are open to all, irrespective of caste, creed and nationality. Supported by International Charity, Government Departments, Local NGOs and Lions Members, SGLEH provides eye care which is affordable and accessible for blind and visually impaired of eastern India.
Sight saving work of Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital focuses on bringing quality eye services through its network of tertiary, secondary and primary eye care centers. It invests substantially in upgrading infrastructure, adopting latest technology and building capacity of eye care personnel in Eastern India. Together with its partners, the organization has for the past 35 years, helped protect the eyesight of lakhs of people and moved from strength to strength to an outstanding height.
As of 2020 – 2021 the hospital systems has a hospital establishment at 4 corners of North Bengal, and have a primary eye care centre spread of 32 centres across North Bengal and Sikkim. Today, the hospital conducts more than 17,000+ surgery per year of which 60% is conducted free of cost.
(Press Release from Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim).