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Rise of Eye care service in Rukum (Nepal)

Rukum Headquater khalanga
Headquarter of Rukum District(2017)
Rukum is a beautiful Himalayan district of Nepal having the population of 207,290 according to the census of 2011 by "Nepal Government". Rukum lies 280 km(Displacement) west of Kathmandu valley.The road travel from kathmandu takes 23 hours into the Terai, Inner Terai to Rapti- salyan Rukum hilly highway.The headquarter is “Khalanga”.Rukum is one of the most remote district of Nepal.
Maoist insurgency vs Eyecare in Nepal
Maoist insugency period in Nepal

Rukum was a flashpoint of the Maoist insurgency, along with neighbouring district, Rolpa .Rukum became a stronghold and was controlled by insurgents throughout the conflict during the time of civil war that lasted for more than a decade.Roads were not accessible till 2010.The place was extremely inaccessible in the past.

Magar and kshetris are the indigenous people of Rukum.Due to the lack of eye care service, the prevalence of blindness in Rukum was pretty high even after the effort of Rapti Eye hospital, doing several free surgical camps yearly in the lack of roads.The prevalence of visual impairment is high too.

After the roads reached  the headquater, “khalanga” in the year 2010, it has been easier for People, Government and NGOS to act rapidly for the betterment of the place.
Rukum Salley
status of Roads in Rukum
In the year 2011, Rukum Eye care centre was established by Rapti Eye Hospital in the hope to provide preventive and promotive eye care to the people of the district along with the neighbouring districts like Dolpa, Rolpa, salyan and Jajarkot.
Rukum Eye Care Centre started its service in District hospital Rukum at the headquater for the very first time on 2011, with the limited resources.later it was shifted to Red cross building having four rooms.The Rukum eye care centre had limited resources, so the incharges coming to the eye care centre has been supplicating for donations from different organizations and local people, for smooth services.Furniture items, solar panels etc. are the donations made till the date.
Logo norwegian association for blind and partially sighted

Rukum Eye care centre is run by Rapti Eye hospital and is supported by Norwegian organization for blind and partially sighted (NABP)

Many eye health teaching sessions are conducted in Rukum district annually by Rapti eye hospital.
Mothers group training Nepal
Training to mothers group by Rapti eye hospital
Training about common eye health problems to health post inchargesMothers group, Female community health volunteer, traditional healers etc are conducted on yearly basis by Rapti Eye Hospital.Superstitions & taboos remains the leading creator of blindness in the district.People believe god and deities are the cause and cure for the diseases.common misbelieves like pouring fresh chicken blood to the corneal ulcers and wounds, Dhami/ Jhankri treating the people with cataracts, using toxic pastes to cure conjunctivitis etc are still practiced in the remote V.D.C’s of District.
Healthpost incharge rukum training
Health post incharge training by Rapti eye hospital

Rukum Eye care centre has been doing many screening camps in villages and schools to search and aware people with cataracts, Glaucoma, retinal diseases, Refractive errors in children, presbyopia in adults.
school screening in Remote District of Nepal
School screening in Remote V.D.C of Nepal
The prevalence of blindness has decreased since the accessibility of road and the establishment of rukum eye care centre in 2011.
Trachoma survey( Rukum)
Trachoma surveillance and impact survey conducted by W.H.O was done in the year 2014 and 2016 and it was concluded that rukum lies below trachoma threshold of W.H.O.

The “RAAB survey” was also done in the district on 2010.
Recently, Nepal Netra Jyoti sangh branch of Rukum has been established in Rukum district.

Netra Jyoti Sangh establishment in Rukum district
Recently, Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh branch of Rukum has been established in Rukum District. The main aim of the branch so established shall be to monitor and help smooth running of the eye care centre by finding the solution of the problems.
Like Every year, Rapti Eye hospital Organized a free surgical camp in Rukum District, conducted on 15-16thNov, 2017. Dr. Santosh Subedi (Ophthalmologist) operated total of 86 cataracts out of 586 people who were examined in the OPD. Below are the photos, depicting the Surgical Camp conducted  in Rukum on the 2017 November 15-16th.

Inauguration of Surgical Eye camp in Rukum

patient examination in Eye camp rukum
Patient Examination in Eye camp
Cataract surgery in Eye camp
Ophthalmologists operating the cataract in Surgical camp
childhood blindness
A child diagnosed with bilateral developmental cataract

happiness after cataracts finally operated
Smile of patient after cataract surgery
Rukum Eye Care Centre
Rukum Eye care Centre
Rukum Eye Camp
ophthalmologist postoperative torch light examination
Rukum Eye camp
Patients who got cataracts operated



About the author
Niranjan Gaire is an ophthalmic Assistant and Incharge of "Rukum Eye care centre"