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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2040

Together we can eradicate blindness in children: Dr VK Raju

By Prakash M Swamy

There are 1.2 Million physicians of Indian-origin providing healthcare in nearly 100 countries of the world and together they can eliminate preventable blindness in children from the globe, said Dr VK Raju, Clinical Professor, Department of Ophthalmology at West Virginia University and Founder-President of The Eye Foundation of America in Morgantown, West Virginia.

He was addressing an international seminar - “Preventing blindness in childhood and beyond” organized by the Rotary Club of Vijayawada, Rotary Club of Morgantown, Eye Foundation of America and Goutami Eye Institute of Rajamundry last week at Hotel Fortune Murali Park in Vijayawada in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Dr. Raju, an internationally-renowned ophthalmic surgeon, said there are about 700,000 physicians in India, 100,000 in the US, 60,000 in the UK and 25,000 in Australia and serving the patients even in small countries.

Preventing blindness in children is crucial to nation’s progress as 80 percent of the blindness can be cured if detected early.

Combating childhood blindness is the most cost effective health intervention according to the World Bank. In times like these, headlines are grabbed by crises and scientific breakthroughs and prevention of disease is being totally neglected.

In 1900, the top three leading causes of death were- Influenza, tuberculosis and gastro-intestinal diseases. Thanks to public health programs such as sanitation, water supply and vaccines and preventive medicine, the rates of these diseases have plummeted over the last 100 years.

An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Though preventive medicine had been a specialty for many decades in the US, it comprises only 0.8% of the physician work force. Most of the countries try to imitate US in many ways, he said.

”By eradicating blindness among infants and children, we are building a strong and healthy India and the world and the future generation is protected,” he says.

The Eye Foundation of America plans to touch the lives of 100,000 people in India as a part of its ongoing efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness. The campaign is focused on those in rural India who suffers from diabetes and is at risk for, or may already be suffering from, diabetic retinopathy — a condition that often leads to blindness if left untreated.

The Eye Foundation of America plans to touch the lives of 100,000 people in India as a part of its ongoing efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness. The campaign is focused on those in rural India who suffers from diabetes and is at risk for, or may already be suffering from, diabetic retinopathy — a condition that often leads to blindness if left untreated, he said.

Eye Foundation of America with the motto world without childhood blindness is poised to take up with Rotary International as an international partner in eradication of childhood blindness.

Dr Raju was felicitated for his lifelong dedicated service in eradicating blindness among children at the one day conference by Andhra Pradesh Health Minister Dr. K. Srinivas, Past President of Rotary International K.R. Ravindran, District Governor of Rotary Clubs GV Rama Rao and former Mayor of Vijayawada Dr. Jandhayala Sankar.

Srinu Maddula, owner of Banks Apothecary Pharmacy in Philadelphia and a Roving Ambassador of Eye Research Foundation, who was felicitated for spearheading the Foundation’s relentless campaign to eradicate childhood blindness, said he was given a new lease of life by Dr Raju who successfully performed corneal transplant on him when he was 18 months old in West Virginia.

As an infant, Maddula was referred to Dr Raju during one of his eye camps in Vijayawada who found that was suffering from a disease where his brain cells will die leading to permanent blindness if not treated immediately. Dr Raju arranged for the American visa for the baby along with his parents and brought them to the US and performed cadaver transplant of cornea on both the eyes within a span of six months.

Maddula, 32, married last month enjoys a perfect vision now and owns a multi-million dollar specialized pharmaceutical company in Philadelphia. He is now the biggest supporter and an ambassador of goodwill for the foundation all across the globe. He refers Dr Raju as living god who gave a new lease of life.

A galaxy of physicians, policymakers and Rotarians from the US were invited to address the seminar from the US and they include Dr. Rahul Gupta, Commissioner and State Health Officer, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, Ranjt K Majumdar, Past District Governor of District 7530, Morgantown, WV, Dr. Indira Majumdar, President of Rotary Club of Morgantown, WV and Dr. Leela Raju, world renowned cornea specialist, chief of ophthalmology, Belvue hospital, NY university Longone, New York.

Dr Rahul Gupta is partnering with the Eye Foundation of America to advance the preventive aspects of the childhood blindness and beyond.

- Asian Tribune -

Together we can eradicate blindness in children: Dr VK Raju
Together we can eradicate blindness in children: Dr VK Raju
Together we can eradicate blindness in children: Dr VK Raju
Together we can eradicate blindness in children: Dr VK Raju
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