Ensuring universal access to eye health in urban slums in the global south: the case of Bhopal (India)

Summary

In the context of its Urban Eye Health Programme in Bhopal (India), Sightsavers launched a pilot approach aimed at developing an inclusive eye health (IEH) model and IEH minimum standards. Accessibility audits were conducted in a tertiary eye hospital and four primary vision centres located within urban slums, addressing the accessibility of physical infrastructures, communication and service provision.

Trainings of eye health staff and sensitisation of decision makers on accessibility, universal design, disability and gender inclusion are organised on a regular basis. A referral network is being built to ensure participation of women, people with disabilities and other marginalised groups, explore barriers at demand level, and guarantee wider access to eye care in the community. Finally, advocacy interventions will be developed to raise awareness in the community, and mainstream disability and gender inclusion within the public health sector.

Founded on principles of universal design, accessibility and participation, and in line with international human rights treaties, Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sightsavers’ IEH model ultimately aims to develop a sustainable, scalable and universally accessible system-strengthening approach, capable of ensuring more inclusive services to people with disabilities, women and other marginalised groups, and designed to more effectively meet the health needs of the entire population.

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