The Himalayan Times, 18th May 2017, Kathmandu
The government has brought the National Ophthalmic Health Policy, 2017 for enhancing the quality of and expanding ophthalmic health services in the country.
Today’s meeting of the Council of Ministers passed the policy which was presented by the Ministry of Health. It is stated that ophthalmic health services would be accessible to all the citizens, the quality of eye care services would be enhanced and the access to education and rehabilitation would be eased for the blind.
The objective of the policy is to minimise blindness by ensuring the availability of specialist ophthalmic services employing the available means and resources through partnership between the government and other sides in line with the government’s policy of universal access to health care, according to Pratap Poudel, advisor to the Health Minister Gagan Thapa.
Moreover, as per the policy the primary eye treatment and care centres run at the health posts and primary hospitals would be integrated into the existing primary health system, and stress would be laid on the development and expansion of preventive services for the elimination of blindness that could be cured.
Similarly, the policy states that programmes would be formulated for the prevention of every type of eye disease. The human resources required for increasing the accessibility of ophthalmic health services to the general public would be trained in the future.
The ophthalmic treatment and care services would be extended in all the geographical regions and administrative units, and that special emphasis would be given to the development of the required infrastructures for the expansion of ophthalmic health services.
Likewise, the policy mentions that the use of new technology would be encouraged to enhance the quality of ophthalmic health services and cataract operations to the needy incorporated in the social health protection programme.
The ophthalmic health services to be provided to the impoverished and helpless would be made available under the government’s Universal Health Coverage Systems.
A National Ophthalmic Health Education Unit would be set up at the National Health Education, Information and Communication Centre, and a consultation unit established at every eye hospital for providing information to the eye patients regarding the treatment services and prevention of eye diseases.
The policy also has the strategy to adopt a special programme to address the major causes of blindness or loss of vision as cataract, vision impairment, blindness among children, corneal ulcer, irritation of the eye, diabetes, retinopathy and low vision among others.