Port Blair, June 5: The team of ophthalmic surgeons led by Dr. Anjali Koteshwar (Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology) from ANIIMS/GBPH have successfully accomplished remarkable and herculean task of operating upon almost 50 patients from Car Nicobar, hailing from 11 different villages. These patients were suffering from various eye conditions including cataract impairing their daily lives. Though most of the cases were challenging because of long standing illness and associated medical problems like raised blood pressure and sugar, the most arduous was to operate upon a 14-year-old child who had no vision in one eye since birth due to cataract. After a series of pre-operative tele-consultations from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Guru Nanak Eye Centre (GNEC), Lok Nayak Hospital (LNH), Delhi, the patient was operated in GBPH by the team of efficient doctors in ANIIMS. With utmost difficulty and after an intensive medical treatment of the child, the surgery was done in coordination with GNEC.

All the patients recovered completely and have been sent back to their native villages with the entire expenditure borne by National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) under National Health Mission. The logistic challenges were comprehensively addressed, with A&N Administration taking care of travel arrangements, accommodation and meals not only for the patients, but also their attendants.

The primary objective of this endeavour was to treat preventable blindness along with improving the quality of life for the tribal population in safe and most comfortable settings. Besides, this initiative also aimed at building confidence of the patients in the Islands to seek quality health care services in time, available in GBPH under ANIIMS. All the patients benefited from this camp are expected to create social movement by becoming ‘Community Champions’ for their respective areas, inspiring and motivating others to seek timely care not only for cataract but also for other health problems.

The Ophthalmology Department at ANIIMS has all the necessary facilities for patients and is continuously upgrading for new challenges. More such collaborative efforts are envisioned to serve as initial impetus in long-term strategy to make healthcare services more accessible to the tribal patients. The success of this initiative underscores the commitment, value of collaboration and community engagement in achieving healthcare goals in the Islands.