SBI Foundation and CBM India Join Forces to Combat Avoidable Blindness in Howrah, West Bengal

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SBI Foundation and CBM India Join Forces to Combat Avoidable Blindness in Howrah, West BengalKolkata, June 20, 2024: CBM India,  in partnership with SBI Foundation, announces the Project “SBIF Eye Care”, aimed at reducing avoidable blindness in the Howrah district of West Bengal. The two-year project, spanning from March 2024 to February 2026, focuses on delivering inclusive, accessible, and affordable eye care services.

Covering 12 blocks in the Howrah district, the project addresses a critical public health concern and a leading cause of blindness worldwide—cataracts. Several factors contribute to this challenge: the need to expand access to eye health services, low awareness about cataract symptoms and treatment options, the growing demand for more surgical capacity and infrastructure, and the limited access to follow-up care, medications, and rehabilitative services. 

The project addresses these challenges and prioritizes sight-restoring procedures, targeting to perform 3,000 free cataract surgeries for people from marginalized communities. SBIF has been a pioneer in cataract care projects pan India; their program aims to improve access to healthcare and help those in need of cataract surgery.

Apart from this, the initiative aims at raising awareness about prevailing eye care issues, their prevention, and care, indirectly benefitting over 1,76,000 people, and offering eye screenings, counseling, and safety measures for eye care to over 30,000 individuals, including children and adults with disabilities.

These goals will be achieved through a multifaceted approach, leveraging CBM India‘s Inclusive Vision Centers, eye screening camps, awareness camps, and door-to-door community eye screenings.

Mr. Sanjay Prakash, Managing Director, SBI Foundation, stated, “SBI Foundation is proud to join hands with CBM India in this noble endeavor. Our partnership signifies a shared commitment toward making a tangible difference in the lives of thousands within the Howrah district. By leveraging our resources and collaborating with experts, we aspire to create a lasting impact that resonates throughout the community.”

Announcing the partnership, Mr. Sony Thomas, Executive Director, CBM India Trust, added, “Through the ‘SBIF Eye Care’ project, CBM India is pleased to partner with SBI Foundation to provide quality eye health services to people with visual impairment from marginalized and rural communities in the Howrah district. By addressing preventable blindness through comprehensive and inclusive eye care, we’re not just treating existing conditions – we are proactively minimizing the factors that lead to visual impairments. This project is a testament to how strategic interventions can create a lasting positive impact, allowing more people to live independent and fulfilling lives with good vision.”

CBM India aims to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and other marginalized communities across India. Their holistic approach to healthcare is in support of the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB-VI). Their objective is to provide access to high-quality, accessible, and inclusive health services free from barriers and stigma. They do so by focusing on treatment and rehabilitation, while also working to reduce the prevalence of diseases that cause impairments.

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