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Sightsavers India and AbbVie India Host Successful State-Level Consultation on Glaucoma Awareness

1st July 2024: Sightsavers India, in collaboration with AbbVie India, successfully launched a series of state-level consultations across India to raise awareness about the prevention of visual impairment due to glaucoma. The inaugural event took place at Lemon Tree Premier in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, drawing a diverse audience that included ophthalmologists, senior optometrists, public health professionals, civil society representatives, social scientists, and journalists.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and early detection and treatment are critical in preventing visual impairment. This initiative seeks to educate the public, share knowledge among professionals, encourage regular eye check-ups, and promote early detection and treatment.

The consultation commenced with a welcome from Siva Prasad, State Programme Lead, Sightsavers India, Odisha, followed by opening remarks from Mr. R.N. Mohanty, Chief Executive Officer of Sightsavers India.

Mr. R.N. Mohanty, Chief Executive Officer of Sightsavers India, emphasized the critical need for early detection and treatment of glaucoma to prevent visual impairment and blindness. “We are dedicated to promoting a culture prioritizing eye health and early intervention. With this aim, we are proud to collaborate with AbbVie India to conduct a series of State-level consultations across India. These consultations will enable vital discussions, bringing to the forefront the issues concerning glaucoma. By initiating dialogue around glaucoma, we empower individuals with the information they need to protect their vision. Our collaboration marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance public awareness and prevent avoidable blindness.”

Chief Guest Dr. Mukesh Mahaling, Hon’ble Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in tackling glaucoma. He praised the initiative for bringing together expertise and resources to benefit the community.

Mr. Suresh Pattathil, Managing Director & General Manager of AbbVie India (via email), said, “Partnering with Sightsavers India in this initiative reflects our shared commitment to preventing avoidable blindness due to glaucoma and improving eye health across the country. These consultations are pivotal in bringing advanced knowledge and resources to the forefront, ultimately empowering individuals and communities to take proactive steps in managing eye health. We are proud to support this campaign, through which we aim to bridge gaps in understanding and access to care and build a future where sight loss is preventable and manageable.”

Also, during the event, two individuals shared their stories about being diagnosed with glaucoma, emphasizing the life-changing impact of early diagnosis and effective management. These personal accounts brought a human element to the discussion, reinforcing the urgency of addressing this public health issue.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Suneeta Dubey, Medical Director and Director of Glaucoma Services at Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi. Dr Dubey, a renowned ophthalmologist with over three decades of experience and a pioneer in minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries in India, highlighted the latest advancements in glaucoma treatment and the importance of regular eye screenings. The panel discussion featured esteemed experts, including Dr. Sumita Mohapatra, Professor and Head of the Department at Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar; Dr. Sanghamitra Dash from CARE Hospitals, Bhubaneswar; and Dr. N.V. Raghunath Rao of AMRI Hospitals, Bhubaneswar; Basant Mohanty, a Development Professional with Master’s Degree and M.Phil. in Anthropology with specialization in Social Anthropology from Utkal University, Odisha; Dr. Jiban Ballav Sarangi,

Additional Director for the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB); Dr. Madan Mohan Pradhan, an Applied epidemiologist; and Ms. Minati Singha, a talented and verified journalist working for The New Indian Express. The panel deliberated on the topic “Prevention of Visual Impairment Due to Glaucoma,” engaging in an in-depth discussion about the latest advancements in diagnosis, treatment options, and the importance of early detection. Experts shared their experiences and strategies for managing glaucoma, emphasizing the need for regular eye screenings and public awareness. Following the panel discussion, a dynamic Q&A session was conducted, allowing the audience to voice their concerns, ask questions, and contribute their insights. This interactive segment facilitated a rich exchange of ideas, fostering a collaborative atmosphere aimed at enhancing community understanding and involvement in glaucoma prevention.

Mr. Prasannakumar P.N., Director of Programme Operations at Sightsavers India, concluded the event with remarks highlighting the key takeaways and outlining the way forward. He reiterated the commitment to ongoing awareness campaigns and the importance of regular eye check-ups for early detection of glaucoma.

A highlight of the event was the glaucoma screening offered to attendees aged 40 and above, ensuring that participants had access to immediate and practical health benefits from the consultation.

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