Vi­sion 2020 Sri Lanka to be brought un­der Col­lege of Oph­thal­mol­o­gists

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS - BY SARAH MUIZ

The de­ci­sion to bring the Vi­sion 2020 Sri Lanka Pro­gramme, cur­rently func­tion­ing un­der the Min­istry of Health, within the purview of the Col­lege of Oph­thal­mol­o­gists, was ques­tioned this week by a group of ac­tivists rep­re­sent­ing the Peo­ple’s Move­ment for the Rights of Pa­tients, pri­vate donors and NGO’S fund­ing the pro­gramme.

Ac­cord­ing to the ac­tivists, the Min­istry of Health had de­cided to bring the pro­gramme un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Col­lege of Oph­thal­mol­o­gists; a pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tion, presently func­tion­ing at the Na­tional Eye Hospi­tal, Colombo.

Stress­ing that there is no valid rea­son to shift power of a fully fledged pro­gramme that is cur­rently func­tion­ing suc­cess­fully, they noted that the real mo­tive as to why the Vi­sion 2020 Sri Lanka Pro­gramme was be­ing trans­ferred from the Min­istry of Health to a pri­vate in­sti­tu­tion re­mains un­clear.

“How the funds have been uti­lized for the Vi­sion 2020 pro­gramme re­mains very trans­par­ent to date as it comes un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Min­istry of Health. How­ever, donors would think twice be­fore want­ing to fund the pro­gramme fur­ther if the pro­gramme were to be brought un­der the purview of a pri­vately run or­ga­ni­za­tion. This is mainly due to doubts our pri­vate donors would have with re­gard to the trans­parency on how funds will be uti­lized in the fu­ture, ” said Prasanna Chan­dralal, rep­re­sent­ing the Peo­ple’s Move­ment for the Rights of Pa­tients.

He pointed out that the de­ci­sion to hand over the pro­gramme to the Col­lege of Oph­thal­mol­o­gists is be­ing brought up at a time when the much needed Mo­bile Eye Care Unit ac­quired through rais­ing pub­lic funds is now ready to be handed over to the Min­istry of Health; to help fa­cil­i­tate the pro­gramme fur­ther. He also noted that the pub­lic has a right to know the di­rec­tion in which the Vi­sion 2020 Sri Lanka Pro­gramme is head­ing.

Vi­sion 2020, which is the Na­tional Pro­gramme for Preven­tion of Avoid­able Blind­ness in Sri Lanka, draws an an­nual fund of ap­prox­i­mately Rs. 20 – 30 mil­lion through pub­lic funds and pri­vate donors and has man­aged to con­duct more than 50, 000 cataract surg­eries suc­cess­fully for el­derly and poor peo­ple suf­fer­ing with avoid­able blind­ness.

PICS BY DAMITH WICKRAMASINGHE

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Peo­ple’s Move­ment for the Rights of Pa­tients, a few donors and fund rais­ers of Vi­sion 2020 ad­dress­ing a news con­fer­ence af­ter news of the pro­gramme be­ing brought un­der the Col­lege of Oph­thal­mol­o­gists came to light

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