Aadya: Reaching More People, Scaling Up
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Combat Blindness International is building on the success of an important initiative to expand access to eye care in remote areas.
It is called the Aadya Initiative, a rebranded and more robust version of Shakti, which we launched in early 2021, in collaboration with Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) in Delhi, India, and students in the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater’s chapter of Enactus, a global social entrepreneurship group.
Like its predecessor, the Aadya Initiative delivers much-needed eye care to people in rural areas via teams of skilled women vision screeners.
This initiative addresses the desperate shortage of eye health technicians in low-income rural areas. By training a workforce of women technicians to conduct door-to-door vision screenings with mobile technology, we are overcoming that barrier.
And, at the same time, we are promoting gender equity in these regions by empowering women with screening skills, income and employment. It’s a win-win!
“In the Shakti pilot earlier this year, we proved that our self-sustaining model could deliver decisive results — over 2,800 were screened, along with hundreds of referrals and eyeglasses dispensed on the spot — in only a couple of weeks,” says Reena Chandra Rajpal, CBI’s executive director.
Since then, CBI staff and Board members have worked closely with the Shroff team and UW–Whitewater Enactus students to optimize and expand the program.
“Our friend Kovin Naidoo, a true global eye health visionary who spoke at World Sight Day, challenged us to expand the ‘reach’ and ‘scale’ of the Aadya Initiative,” Reena notes. “In other words, reaching underserved children and adults where they live, and scaling up our self-sustaining program to cover large geographic areas.”
CBI, the Shroff team and the UW– Whitewater students developed an enhanced program, including:
• a refined training curriculum;
• a longer screening period;
• a larger group of trained vision screeners;
• a much larger screening coverage area; and
• an updated version of our custom-built smartphone screening survey.
Fittingly, the first wave of Aadya vision screeners began the new phase of screenings on October 14th, World Sight Day.
Stay tuned for more exciting news about the Aadya Initiative in the future!