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RIGHT OF REPLY - The Truth behind VISION 2020: The Right to Sight

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7 March 2017 12:03 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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VISION 2020 representsthe global initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness, a joint programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) launched in 1999.   
The College of Ophthalmologists was the initial partners in Sri Lanka when its activities started in 2000. Eye surgeons as members of the college supported the programme and in the year 2007 at its annual conference the college signed an MOU with the Ministry of Health to support and strengthen the activities of the programme.   
Five key areas in eye care service were identified as follows; cataract, child hood blindness, glaucoma, refractive errors, low vision and diabetic retinopathy.   
 Five eye surgeons were appointed as focal point [consultants] and to be in charge. The director general of the Ministry of Health was the national focal point playing a major role in planning, implementating and monitoring the process.   
At a special general meeting of the college in 2006 it was proposed to have a steering committee consisting of consultant eye surgeons. Later on the donors were also invited to the steering committee. 


A bank account for the Vision 2020 programme was opened with the initial deposit from the College of Ophthalmologists and is still under the preview of the college treasurer. The accounts are audited with the college accounts and the audit report is presented at the annual general meeting of the college for approval of the membership. Even at present the admin. staff of the secretariat is recruited by the College of Ophthalmologists and the main signatory to service agreements is also the college.   
In May 2008 an MOU was signed between the College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka, NGOS and the Ministry of Health.   
In the same year, the council of the college requested for the appointment of two medical officers to the secretariat to coordinate the activities of the V 2020.   
The many activities carried out under the five focal points with the participation of the peripheral consultant eye surgeons who were members of college were noteworthy. NGOs like Sight Savers, CBM, Iris and ICEE were main donors at the inception. Later on more organisations joined in support.   

 

 

"The College of Ophthalmologists was the initial partners in Sri Lanka when its activities started in 2000. Eye surgeons as members of the college supported the programme and in the year 2007 at its annual conference the college signed an MOU with the Ministry of Health to support and strengthen the activities of the programme"

 

 

With the support of the donors thousands of cataract surgeries were performed. Glaucoma awareness was spread throughout the country and screening programmess were arranged. Diabetic retinopathy screening was also arranged and equipment provided to peripheral eye units while primary eye care workers were trained.   
At a meeting held at the Ministry of Health presided over by Hon. Minister of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, and in the presence of the Secretary of the Minister of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine , Director General of Health Services and the Council of the College of Ophthalmologists Dr Jayasundara Bandara was appointed as the National Focal point. To coordinate the smooth functioning of the programme Dr Muditha Kulathunga a Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon was appointed as the national coordinator. Further it was decided to shift the office of the of the Vision 2020 Secretariat to the National Eye Hospital for better coordination.   
 At the same meeting Hon: Minister informed the decision of the government to provide good quality, intra-ocular lenses free of charge to all the patients seeking treatment from government hospitals. The Hon: Minister emphasised that the same good quality lenses should be given to patients undergoing cataract surgery through the Vision 2020 programme free of charge. The college welcomed this   
The College of Ophthalmologists is willing to collaborate with other professional bodies, the government, NGOs, donors and the media to continue with the existing programme and to expand it further in keeping with objectives of the programme.   

 

College of Ophthalmologists of Sri Lanka     


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