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Restoring eyesight in Arunachal Pradesh 

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi: An ophthalmologist of Arunachal Pradesh, who helped restore eyesight of hundreds of visually challenged in the northeastern Indian state, was awarded for “exemplary commitment” to healthcare services.

Doctor Lobsang Tsetim among several stalwarts in South Asia who received the prestigious BMJ (British Medical Journal) South Asia Award-2017 on November 18 from federal Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey at a function held in New Delhi.

The BMJ Awards South Asia recognizes individuals and teams that have ‘demonstrated an exemplary commitment to the practice of medicine in the South Asian region,’ reports arunachaltimes.in.

Dr Tsetim is a native of Mangam village in Lumla subdivision of Tawang district. He has headed the department of ophthalmology at Rama Krishna Mission Hospital in Itanagar for the last 13 years.

He was selected from more than 2.000 nominations by eminent juries from reputed institutes of South Asia and United Kingdom after rigorous scrutiny.

Receiving the award is a big step in his journey as an ophthalmologist. It speaks volumes about the work that he has been doing, undeterred by the unique challenges in a state like Arunachal Pradesh, the website says.

Dr Tsetim was recognized for his role in the outreach surgical eye camps in Arunachal Pradesh that Rama Krishna Mission Hospital collaborated with Light for the World, Austria. Through this comprehensive eye care program, hundreds of blind people in far-flung areas of the state have reportedly had their sights restored.

Arunachal Pradesh with an area of 83,743 square kilometers ranks 15 among India’s 29 states. It has very limited trained human resources for eye care service.

The state, bordering Bhutan, China and Myanmar, lacks basic eye care facility at the primary level. Across its 21 districts, only 11 facilities (covering eight districts) have surgical eye care and basic diagnostic equipment. People from far-off areas are unable to travel to places that have such facilities, due to geographical difficulties and low economic status.

Though a discouraged modality by the National Programme for Control of Blindness, the outreach surgical eye camps are relevant and are the only way to provide free and quality service to the hundreds of blinds in the state.

Dr Tsetim is a product of Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya and the award comes to him when Arunachal Pradesh celebrates 40 years of the VKV’s foundation in the state.

In October, he received Eye Health Heroes Award along with two other Indian surgeons at the 10th General Assembly meet of the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) at Durban in South Africa.

Dr Tsetim is the only doctor from northeastern India to get the prestigious award.

The Eye Health Heroes Award is an initiative of the IAPB in partnership with L’Occitane Foundation, and aims to celebrate eye care practitioners and frontline staffs whose efforts behind the scenes are making a real difference towards universal eye health.

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