The following Guidelines have been framed for conducting eye camps successfully taking into consideration all medicolegal implications of such programmes under National Programme for Control of Blindness.
1. Objectives of Outreach program
1.1 Since Cataract is the major cause of blindness, our main objective of conducting eye camps is to identify people with cataract and provide them with the necessary treatment, that is, surgery.
1.2 To detect Glaucoma cases and manage by routine tonometry and in suspected and proved
cases of Glaucoma, to refer them to the base hospital for treatment.
1.3 To prescribe glasses for refractive errors.
1.4 To detect and treat (operate when required) diseases such as pterygium, chronic dacryocystitis and other infections.
1.5 To refer school children in the villages for refractive errors, squint,amblyopia, nutritional deficiencies etc.
1.6 To undertake health education of the community on proper care.
1.7 To develop and maintain relationship with the community.
1.8 To train medical staff and develop their capacity.
2. Do we need to organize outreach programs?
Most developing countries are now challenged with the problem of blinding cataract besides a huge backlog. India has perhaps the largest blind and potentially blind population in the world.
According to the two surveys of 1971-73 & 1986-88, the prevalence of blindness (visual acuity <6/60) has increased during the period from 1.4% of the population. About 80% of this blindness is due to cataract which can be cured by a simple surgery.
In the rural areas where health care facilities are primitive, blindness is more pronounced (1.62%) constituting over 75% of the population than in urban areas (1.03%).
Because of their unawareness and poverty they continue to remain needlessly blind. The social and financial hardships created by blindness gravely affect individuals and families in particular and the nation at large.
Free eye camps are a major step in this war against needless blindness. They provide a link to the rural masses by reaching out, seeking the needy patients and restoring their vision.
Clarification of Commitments (Hospital / Sponsor)
(It is good that we must have agreed upon the responsibilities of sponsor publicity, camp site arrangements, medical team hospitality, volunteer support, transportation of patients etc.
The sponsor should also realize the hospitals inputs)
Conduction of camp and case selection
(Sponsor is responsible for engaging the medical team to the camp site, conducting camp without discrepancy)
On the spot transportation to Base Hospital / Operation site
(The Sponsor must plan transport facility in advance and take the patients from the camp site to the hospital or the place of operation as soon as the screening process is over)
Operation Post-op. Medication - Discharge Follow-up
(Sponsor has to make sure that clinical service is provided as per the schedule. He is accountable to provide follow up service either at the camp site or base hospital)
3. How will you choose the village, camp venue and date?
3.1 SELECTING THE LOCATION:
- Select a village with a population of atleast five to ten thousand in the surrounding areas.
- Should be easily accessible to people in surrounding areas.
-The sponsors should arrange transport for patients, between the
villages and the site of the camp.
- Find out what camps have been conducted earlier in that place, the results, and
whether they can affect your camp.
3.2 SELECTING THE VENUE:
- A convenient venue would be a large school building in the area.
- There should be two rooms of length or width atleast 7 meters or 25 feet, for vision checking, apart from space for the other activities.
- There should be electricity as well as two plug points in working condition.
- Contact the school building authorities well in advance and take the necessary
- Ensure that the school building will not be functioning on the day of the camp.
3.3 SELECTING THE TIME:
Ensure that there will be no important activities in the area at the time of the camp that can affect the patient turnout of the camp.
3.4 FIXING THE DATE:
- A suitable date atleast one month in advance may be fixed.
- This would give sufficient time for planning of publicity, site selection etc., and
necessary for good turnout.
- Do not conduct camps on the days which are not comfortable for you.
4. List the criteria that influence the success of camp?
4.1 Proper planning:
The Hospital is responsible for pre-planning the camp activities. It
has to help the sponsor to understand and handle camp related activities like publicity, accommodation, food arrangements, campsite preparations etc. It is best to conduct a discussion with the sponsor and field organizers to get a full idea about the camp.
Any marketing needs an effective way of publicity to market the product. Here we discuss how to market our quality eye care.
It is possible to recruit a good number of patients by successfully propagating the message about the camps to the rural masses. The sponsor of the camp should pay more attention in educating the needy about these camps. There are some common and effective methods of publicity that
can be done 3 to 5 days before the camp.
4.3 Community participation:
- A high degree of community participation and involvement are the key to making a camp successful.
- The sponsor should identify and work with other service minded people in the
- Village leaders, Panchayat President can use their influence to persuade people to attend the camp and also extend some facilities for conducting the camp.
- Doctors who know people with eye problems can advise them to attend the camp.
- Teachers can persuade their students to identify patients particularly in their own families.
- Religious leaders can talk about the importance of camps when people gather for worship.
- Involving the community can help to reduce the propaganda cost a great deal and to get a good turnout.
5. List the essential requirements in the campsite?
5.1 Furniture and other requirements:
For a camp of moderate size, with an expected patients turnout of around 300, the furniture required at the venue is as below:
Tables : 6
Chairs : 20 + another 50 for waiting patients
Stools : 6
Benches : 5 + another 10 for waiting patients
There should be electricity and two plug points and two or three fans.
There should be two rooms of width atleast 7 metres or 25 feet for checking vision.
5.2 Volunteers for the Eye Camp
Volunteers are essential for various activities.
A. Before the camp 10 volunteers
- Preparing and putting up posters and banners
- Distributing hand-bills
- Other publicity campaigns
B. On the day before the camp 7 volunteers
- Arranging the furniture : 5 volunteers
- Cleaning the campsite : 2 sweepers
C. On the day of the camps 20 to 25 volunteers
- Managing the crowd : 5 volunteers
- Making entries in the
Registers and records : 5 volunteers with good hand writing
Selected for surgery : 2 volunteers with good hand writing
Assisting the medical
Team and escorting
Patients at all stages : 10 volunteers
D. After the camp 5 volunteers
- Cleaning up the venue of camp
- Assisting in transporting selected patients to hospital
- Bringing back patients after discharge.
You can get volunteers locally, from school students, religious and dedicated service organizations, NSS groups, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, various friends and fans associations etc.
6.What are the financial implications for sponsors towards conducting a successful eye camp?
Sponsors have to take care of all the expenses that arise from conducting the camp, this includes paying for transportation of doctors and paramedical staff, transportation of patients to the base hospital from the camp site and back, arranging for meals and dinner on the day of surgery, arranging for the hall or school building which is converted into the camp site, arranging for the furniture, taking care of the volunteers meals and transport, arranging clean drinking water and sanitary facilities etc.
Paying for the spectacles and glasses, drugs and eye drops which are prescribed by the doctors at the camp site, and finally paying towards the surgical expenditure for cataract surgery for the patients requiring surgery in these camps. It is to be realized that while Free eye camps aim at providing services to the poor people free of cost, it is actually not free since the sponsor pays for it from his pocket as a charitable cause/venture.
With this in mind,It is better for the organizers to identify their maximum available budget towards the surgeries that can be performed in any given camp and convey the same to the medical service providers before hand, so that any unpleasant situation may be avoided whereby the hospital identifies more number of patients/beneficiaries than what the sponsors are willing to pay for.