Assisted and Financed Eye Care Project
V. Ramakrishna Prasad surveying residents of Kalavalapalli
(Canada) and the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute have created a self-insurance
pilot project never before attempted in the developing world. The objective
of the project is to build a comprehensive eye care system funded by
the communities it serves.
Starting with a rural population of about 50,000 from fifteen villages
in West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh State, India, Eyesight International
(Canada) and L.V. Prasad are enumerating the residents, identifying
their needs, enrolling them in the project and commencing treatment
of those who require immediate assistance. This will be followed by
educational and preventative measures to reduce unnecessary blindness
and visual impairment in the future. An agreement to provide the medical
services required has been made with the Rajeshwari Ramakrishnan Lions
Eye Hospital in Nidadavole.
This is a three-year project with a budget of $75,000. The initial
start up and service costs are being funded by grants from Eyesight
International (Canada). Within three years, it is expected that the
project will be completely self-sustaining through premiums paid by
the residents of one rupee per month per person (about 3 cents Canadian
or 2 cents U.S.). Almost everyone should be able to afford this premium.
However, if any residents are not able to afford the premium, landowners
or business owners will be asked to sponsor them.
Registration began on October 11, 2001, World Sight Day. In the first
year of the project, over 12,000 residents were enrolled, paying a yearly
premium in advance. About 4000 patients were seen at the hospital and
more than 400 sight restoring surgeries were performed.
It is expected that the project will be extended to other villages
as its benefits are observed in neighboring communities. Ultimately,
Eyesight International (Canada) and L.V. Prasad hope that the project
will be expanded to include all medical services, not just eye care.
This is a unique experiment which could revolutionize the delivery
of eye care, and possibly other areas of health care, in the developing
To see a report of our visit to this project in February 2002, see
Visit Report - VFEP.
To learn about those who have been helped by this project see Those