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Gujarat: 'Tele eye care' unlocks 'vision' in remote villages amid lockdown

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The Times Of India
29th May, 2020 04:00 IST

Surat: Unlike many places in the state , non-Covid tribal patients in remote villages of eastern belt of Tapi, Narmada , Surat and even Maharashtra , like 52-year-old farm labourer Mangesh Tadvi from Maharashtra’s Korai village, aren’t facing any difficulties in getting access to health care services, including eye care.

Thanks to the teleconsultation and telemedicine facilties provided by the Divyajyoti Trust, run by Mandvi-based Tejas Eye Hospital, health concerns have been minimised to a great extent.

Tadvi had been suffering from eye problems for the few days, which only got aggravated due to the lockdown restrictions.

On Monday, he approached the trust’s Vision Centre at Khapar village in Maharashtra where an ophthalmologist in Mandvi checked his eyes through Non Myriatic Fundus Camara and gave him advice via telemedicine.

“I was slightly apprehensive about the expert advice from a doctor sitting humdreds of kilometres away in Mandvi town. But after checking, the expert advised me that I need to wear glasses now, which they will send me in the next four days,” Tadvi, told TOI over phone from Maharashtra.

Divyajyoti Trust runs 11 vision centres in the remote villages like Natrang, Zankhvav, Dediyapada, Sagbara, Vyara, Bardoli, Kim Uchchal, Kosmba and in Maharashtra's Khapar village where on an average 15 patients visit these centres daily.

“Teleconsultation saves poor people of approximately Rs 1 crore annually on health services. All the vision centres are equipped with telemedicine facility. Such facility is available in only two places in Gujarat, which includes and Divyajyoti Trust. We have internet facilities at all our centres,” said Dr Uday Gajiwala, ophthalmologist and superintendent of Tejas Eye Hospital, while talking to TOI.

"Teleconsultation makes eye care available to rural masses as almost 80 percent of ophthalmologists are clustered in cities only. The trust provides eye care for about 2.5 million population in approximately 2,000 villages. This is our venture to eliminate avoidable blindness by providing services close to the doorsteps of the rural community,” Dr Gajiwala added.

“This has also helped people avoid the risk of infection from travelling to our hospital in Mandvi. Those patients who need further examinations or surgery are referred to hospital in Mandvi for further treatment,” he said , adding that the eye hospital has 100 bed facility and conducts over 13,000 eye surgeries every year.

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