23 villages declared ‘avoidable blindness free’

NAMSAI, Oct 25: Twenty-three villages of Changlang and Namsai districts were declared ‘avoidable blindness free’ under the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) on Thursday.
Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein made the declaration in a function at the Arunachal University of Studies (AUS) here.
Twenty out of the 23 villages are in Bordumsa, Diyun, and Innao circles of Changlang district, and the remaining three villages are in Namsai district.
The avoidable blindness-free status for these villages was achieved under the Avoidable Blindness Free Arunachal (ABFAR) project, a joint venture of the NPCB&VI, in partnership with Jorhat (Assam)-based Chandra Prabhu Eye Hospital, NGO Operation Eyesight Universal, and the Standard Chartered Bank’s ‘Seeing is Believing’ initiative, on the PPP mode.
Mein credited the achievements to the accredited social health activists (ASHAs), healthcare functionaries at the grassroots level, and the stakeholders of the NPCB programme.
He expressed hope that the ABFAR project would be adopted and extended to other parts of the state to make the entire state free from avoidable blindness.
The DCM supported the idea of establishing a ‘zonal eye specialist centre’ in Namsai for the entire eastern zone of the state as people of the state often have to travel to other parts of the country for eye check-up and treatment, costing them huge expenses.
NPBC&VI Deputy Director General Dr Sangeeta Abrol lauded the achievement made by the state under the NPCB programme in the PPP mode.
She said the ABFAR project in the state would be “taken as a role model and a pilot project for other states to follow.” She also appreciated the way the ASHAs function in the state, and assured all possible assistance from the union health & family welfare ministry in future endeavours under the programme in the state.
Earlier, NPCB&VI state programme officer Dr Taba Khanna informed that Arunachal is the second highest blindness prevalent state, after Assam, in the country, and efforts are on to remove the tag from the state.
State BJP president Tapir Gao, Namsai MLA Chau Zingnu Namchoom, Namsai DC Dr Tapashya Raghav, AUS vice chancellor Prof VK Kwatra, AUS chairman Ashwin Lochan, and Namsai DMO Dr N Soreya Namchoom also spoke. (PRO, DCM)