Despite the magnitude of the problem of avoidable blindness in developing countries, studies have shown that only a small percentage of the people needing cataract surgery or other treatment actually seek it. Moreover, eye care in the developing world still suffers from:
Financial and logical barriers to access
Low patient awareness of services available
Low doctor/patient ratio
In other words, it is necessary for eye care institutions to reach out to potential patients the "unreached" in order to provide their services to the people who need them most.
SUPPORT A CAMP
Who can be a community partner (Sponsor) to conduct a camp?
Any individual or voluntary social service organization - such as Lions, Rotary, religious groups, industries, trusts, banks, hospitals, community based NGOs, recreation and welfare clubs, farmers associations, village presidents - interested in the community welfare may sponsor an eye camp in terms of partnering with service providers. Aravind expects the sponsors who are self motivated aiming to serve the community.
The sponsors have the primary role of setting up campsite preferably a school venue with the necessary support facilities viz. furniture, electricity, water etc. and also to care of the publicity needs. They are responsible for assembling patients and providing lodging and food for the medical team.
How to select an ideal place for a camp?
A village with a population of ten to twenty thousand including the surrounding areas in an accessible radius of 5 Kms is selected for conducting an eye camp. A convenient venue (such as a large school building in the area) and a suitable date (which does not interfere with local festivals, marriages and other functions or with other camps) will be selected for conducting the camp. The village should have good access to the nearby villages to benefit the patients around the main village.
The sponsors are supposed to:
Delegate a separate team of members and volunteers to look after the community mobilization
Arrange boarding and lodging for the medical team if the location is beyond 125km from the base hospital
Arrange local transport facility for patients between the villages and the site of the camp, if the camp venue is not accessible within a radius of 5 to 10 Kms.
Plan for manpower and finance to prepare the camp venue and conduct widespread publicity through all possible media. The camp organizer from Aravind Eye Hospital works along with sponsor for effective execution of promotional activities