Message From Chairman
Prof. Dr. Tirtha Prasad Mishra
Three epochs ago, the eye care service in Nepal was in elementary stage. Generally, visually impaired people were deprived of surgery due to elongated waiting period. Only limited people who could meet the expense of to go to eye hospital in India, have their sight restored and returned back with thick Aphakic glasses.
After comprehending this burden of curable blindness, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) was established in 1978; and in 1981, Nepal conducted the National Blindness Survey as an initial benchmark with the support of the then HMG/WHO-National Blindness Program. This assessment gave the true picture of blindness in Nepal, and thereafter, the blueprint was developed for eye care services in Nepal in 1982.
The key objective of the blueprint was to clear the backlog of the curable blindness due to cataract, and eliminate trachoma which was endemic in the mid-western and Far-Western Terai regions. Government eye care infrastructure and human resource were insufficient to cope with the magnitude of blindness. A drastic measure was the urgent need to combat the backlog of blindness - thus support from various national and international organizations was solicited to develop appropriate eye care system in the country. Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh (National Society for comprehensive eye care), an NGO, was the pioneer organization to take this lead.
To achieve this objective, primary, secondary and tertiary eye hospitals were developed in the country. The organization simultaneously implemented a strategy of training eye care professionals at all levels to staff of the hospitals and clinics as they become operative.
Nepal is one of the developing countries in South Asia to launch VISION 2020: The Right to Sight a global campaign initiated by World Health Organization. A decade has passed since Nepal launched this global initiative in 1999. It makes uspleased to absorb that Nepal has made significant progress in development and delivery of eye care services in the country after launching of this initiative. The review showed that the prevalence of blindness has declined from 0.84% in 1980-1981 to 0.35% in 2010 using visual acuity less than 3/60 as the criterion for blindness.
We like to acknowledge all the supporting individuals, NGOs, INGOs, WHO, Ministry of Health for their relentless support to bring the NNJS to existentprominence. Weare also thankful to our volunteer members associated with NNJS district branches for their dedicated work, and to entire staff of NNJS central office, eye hospitals, and eye care centers for rendering their valuable service.
Presently, we are dealing with the on-going challenges such as the persistent magnitude of cataract blindness, coordination among the stakeholders and retention of trained human resource in eye care in remote areas. To deal with these challenges, training of various categories of human resource will remain as our priority. We are committed to give the high quality eye care at affordable cost at all levels supported by evidence based research activities in eye health.
Lastly, we are thankful to all the INGOs for their generous support and input to NNJS in developing & promoting eye care service in this country.