Sightsavers is an international organisation working with partners in over 30 countries to eliminate avoidable blindness and help people with disabilities participate more fully in society. In the context of its Urban Eye Health Programme in Bhopal (India), the organisation launched a pilot approach aimed at developing an Inclusive Eye Health (IEH) model and IEH Minimum Standards.
Accessibility audits were conducted in a tertiary eye hospital and four primary vision centres located within urban slums, addressing the accessibility of physical infrastructures, communication and service provision. The collection and analysis of disaggregated data inform the inclusion strategy and provide a baseline to measure the impact of service provision. Trainings of eye health staff and sensitisation of decision makers on accessibility, universal design, disability and gender inclusion are organised on a regular basis.
A referral network is being built to ensure participation of women, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups, explore barriers at demand level, and guarantee wider access to eye care in the community. Finally, advocacy interventions will be developed to raise awareness in the community and mainstream disability and gender inclusion within the public health sector.
A round-up from the field, including news from India, where a book has been published to highlight Sightsavers’ work in the coastal Sundarbans region.