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Dr. Jagannath Wani, Founder President of K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, submitted a proposal on behalf of Maharashtra Seva Samiti Organization (MSSO) to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for matching funds in support of a five year project Blindness Prevention among Rural Children. CIDA approved the project providing 3 to 1 match. CIDA had received 167 project proposals. Only 30 were approved for funding. The project will be executed jointly by K.S. Wani Memorial Trust (KSWMT) and Sharda Netralaya (SN).
Using two mobile clinics two outreach teams of KSWMT will provide eye examination to at least 100,000 rural students followed by treatment at SN for those who will be identified with impaired vision. Till now we were doing, and will continue to do, free cataract surgeries for poor people. These patients have a remaining life span of 5 to 15 years. However, if a child with impaired vision is treated then he has a very long productive life span as much as 70 years. This was the thinking behind this project.
The outreach teams are going beyond the call of duty in reaching out to dropout students. They were shocked to find that the students who dropped out after grade eight did not know how to read and write. The team not only screened them for vision deficiency but also taught them how to read and write.
Besides students in the school system, the outreach teams are also visiting playschools and special schools for mentally challenged, hearing impaired and others. The project is generating large numbers of pediatric patients leading to over-crowding of SN’s OPD waiting area. The patients and their caregivers have to sit in the passage on the floor and wait their turn to be examined by the doctor. With assistance from Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission and Alberta Government’s Community Initiative Program MSSO provided funds for the expansion of the waiting area which will be in operation beginning December 1, 2013.
  The following table includes all students who are screened till September 30, 2013.
Table: Screening Report of School Visits
 Cumulative till September 30, 2013
   Total  Male  Female
 Total screened  47,081  26,798  20,283
 Needing eye glasses  1,503  799  704
 Needing treatment at hospital  1,060   606  454
 Total with vision deficiency  2,562  1,405  1,157
  As an immediate outcome till September 30, 2013, the outreach team has identified 2,562 students with vision deficiency. 1,503 of these needed eyeglasses and 1060 needed treatment at the hospital. The tables below provide breakdown of these numbers in various categories.
  Table: Treatment referral status
Cumulative till September 30, 2013
   Total  Male  Female
 Referred & attended hospital  402  220  182
 Referred but did not attend#  658  386  272
 Total  1,060   606  454
  # To take the child to the hospital for free treatment the parents have to forgo daily wages and pay for transportation. Many parents cannot afford this financial loss.
  Of the 402 students referred to the hospital, only 47 needed surgeries of various types as detailed in the below table. The remaining 355 were treated with prescription medicines.
  Table: Surgical Treatment Categories
   Total  Male  Female
 Cataract           9  6  3
 Intraocular lens  3  2  1
 Squint  30  20  10
 Chalizion  3  1  2
 Ptosis    2   1  1
 Total treated*  47  30  17
  *All females were treated at no cost. Of 30 males, 28 treated at no cost and 2 were subsidized.
  Table 3: Eyeglasses distribution status
 Cumulative till September 30, 2013
 Classification of eye glasses provision  Total  Male  Female
 (a) Supplied free to poor students  246  137  109
 (b) Non-poor bought from assigned supplier  265  132  153
 (c) Non-poor bought from outside supplier  265  152  113
 (d) Total who received eyeglasses (a)+(b)+(c)  796  421  375
 (e) Non-poor opted but did not buy elsewhere       613  345  268
 (f) Total Needing eye glasses (d)+(e)  1,409  766  643
 (g) Total opting for outside supplier (c)+(e)  878  497  381
  As shown in the table below, the outreach team has covered 77 villages and 168 schools till the end of the second reporting period.
  Table: Numbers of villages and schools
   Total  Male  Female
 No. of Villages  686  77  609
 No. Schools  1,881  168  1,713
 No. Playschools  2,129  262  1,867
 No. of Students in Schools  382,895  33,139  349,756
 No. of Students in Playschools     98,759  9,995  88,764
   481,654  43,134  438,520
  With the help of the district school board, the outreach team is successfully conducting the teacher training program. The team also included playschool teachers in the training program. The target was to train 500 teachers in a year. The team has trained 644 till 30th September 2013.
  Table: Teacher Training Details
Cumulative Total till September 30, 2013
   Total  Male  Female
 Teachers  356  203  153
 Trainee teachers  60  14  46
 Playschool Teachers  228    228
 Grand total  644  217  427