A ten-year-old boy became totally blind as he was taken to a quack who administered some poisonous herb in the eyes for treating some ailment. But the surprising factor is that the father who took him to the quack was not an illiterate but a Central Government employee who could have taken the child to a doctor instead.
There are hundreds of parents, especially in the rural areas, who are dependent on quacks for treatment ignorant of the resultant consequences. Villagers of Gudipalli, Putturu, Gudikothuru, Santhipuram and Nimmanapalli mandals in Chittoor district continue to believe in this kind of treatment and as a result the eyesight of more than 150 children from these mandals was affected. However a ray of hope came in the form of North America Telugu Association (NATA) which has taken up the mission of restoring their eyesight with the help of the Rajahmundry-based Gowthami Eye Institute.
It was under the Rajiv Vidya Mission (RVM) the district administration had taken up ‘Chinnari Choopu’ programme in three phases. In the first two phases, the RVM took up massive campaign to identify children with eye defects with the help of Inclusive Education Resource Teachers (IERTs).
After a detailed survey seven thousand children below 18-years of age were given spectacles by Raghavachari, Ophthalmologist, Government Hospital, Chittoor. Former project officer of RVM Maheswara Reddy took the onus of implementing the two phases and the programme was later consolidated by the ent project officer Lakshmidevi. However, IER Teachers M. Kumar, Sattarwada in Puttoor mandal and M. Ramaiah of Gudipalli took all the children from their native villages and travelled about 500 kilometers to reach Rajahmundry with the support of their district coordinator Krishna Mohan Reddy and his assistant Lavanya.
The USA- based Dr. VK. Raju, who is the founder chairman of Gowthami Eye Institute, visits India twice in year. He came to know about the RVM’s ‘Chinnari Choopu’ programme and asked his team head Dr. Madhavi and executive director P. Madhu to undertake surgeries for all the 74 children. His initiative is getting able support from NATA.
About 16 children all below 14 years and from below poverty line (BPL) families reached Rajahmundry’s Gowthami Eye Institute on Sunday, where they would be operated upon in next three days. In the first batch 17 children got operated out of 74 children who were referred by Ruia Hospital, Tirupati.
Rajahmundry-based Gowthami Eye Institute with the help of North America Telugu Association has undertaken surgeries to restore eyesight to children identified by the RVM under ‘Çhinnari Choopu’