Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein made the declaration in a function at Arunachal University of Studies here. Of the 23 villages, 20 are in Bordumsa, Diyun and Innao circles of Changlang district and 3 in Namsai district.
The avoidable blindness-free status for these 23 villages was achieved under the Avoidable Blindness Free Arunachal (ABFAR) project, a joint venture of the State NPCB & VI in partnership with Chandra Prabhu Eye Hospital in Assam’s Jorhat, Operation Eyesight Universal, an NGO and Seeing is Believing (Standard Chartered Bank) on PPP mode.
Mein credited the achievements to the ASHA workers, healthcare functionaries at the grassroot level and to all the stakeholders of the NPCB programme. He said that it is the result of a team effort and expressed hope that the ABFAR project would be adopted and extended to make the whole of the State avoidable blindness-free.
As proposed during the programme, he also said to initiate establishment of a zonal eye specialist centre at Namsai for whole of the eastern zone of the State as the people often travel to other parts of the country for eye check-up and treatment incurring huge expenses.
Dr Sangeeta Abrol, Deputy Director General of NPCB & VI under Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, lauded the achievement made in the State under NPCB program in PPP mode. She said that the ABFAR project in the State would be taken as a role model and a pilot project for other states to follow.
She also appreciated the way the ASHAs function in the State and assured all possible assistance and support from the ministry in future endeavours of the programme in the State.
Earlier, Dr Taba Khanna, State Programme Officer of NPCB & VI, highlighted the achievements made under the programme in the State. He said that Arunachal Pradesh is the second highest blindness prevalent State after Assam in the country and efforts are on to remove this tag.
State BJP President Tapir Gao, Namsai MLA Chau Zingnu Namchoom, DC Namsai Dr Tapashya Raghav, AUS Vice Chancellor VK Kwatra, AUS Chairman Ashwin Lochan, and DMO Namsai Dr N Soreya Namchoom also spoke on the occasion.