India has the largest population of blind globally. Most of them live in the poorest parts of the country with little or no access to even basic health care facilities. One of the many obstacles in detecting and treating preventable blindness timely, is the paucity of real time community level data to aid analysis and decision making. Population level data on blindness is either dated or if available is region specific, and hence is not very useful given the regional diversity of a country like India. Further, manual data collection as seen in various community level activities, is fraught with issues of data accuracy for the purpose of reporting and decision making.
Sankara’s unique innovation, Sankara Electronic Remote Vision Information System (SERVIS) is a real time Blindness Prevention Surveillance System which enables any eye care provider to immediately access village level information, helping it to reach out to the population in most need of eye care through targeted intervention and thus prevent blindness.
In 2015, the concept germinated at Sankara Eye Foundation, India when its Community Outreach team was looking at an efficient system to record information at the doorstep of the rural poor with data integrity being the foremost priority. Such automation was felt to be the need of the hour as more than 80% of the potentially blinding and visually impairing conditions are either preventable or curable if detected early on
Today SERVIS is transforming community mobilization and awareness generation by making it paperless! Android tablets are being used by Field workers to record patient specific data during household surveys and promoting preventive eye care awareness.
The information collected in field is geo tagged. The gathered data provides real time information not only on field personnel activity but also blinding disease patterns and eye care utilization, thus enabling prompt intervention and planning of programs so that no one needlessly goes blind.
SERVIS was recognized with the Mobile for Good Award 2014 for utilizing technological innovations for driving social change (main health category); it supports emerging mobile solutions with transformational impact on society. SERVIS has already been deployed in action by Sankara Eye hospitals in 7 states and is being scaled up throughout the entire network across India.
SERVIS is not only unique experiment for eye care but a pioneering one in the space of development sector in India and globally when such technology is used to capture live village level data across the country.
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