The Gullapalli Pratibha Rao International Centre for Advancement of Rural Eye Care (GPR-ICARE), LVPEI's community outreach program, began in May 1997, with the aim of making high-quality, appropriate eye care accessible to all. GPR ICARE focuses on both the geographically removed as well as the economically disadvantaged groups.
The work of GPR-ICARE over the past decade has resulted in the development of what is now known as the LVPEI Eye Health Pyramid. Built on a strong base of community engagement, the Pyramid links upward through primary eye care centers serving clusters of villages, through a network of secondary care centers at the district level, all linked to a city-based tertiary care eye center. At the apex of the pyramid is a Centre of Excellence offering advanced tertiary or quaternary care. GPR ICARE focuses its activities on the secondary centers and the levels below, setting up infrastructure and building human resources for eye care. GPR- ICARE's focus is on fostering local involvement and ownership, so as far as possible, people from the local community are recruited and trained to fill paramedical and community health worker positions.
GPR-ICARE is also involved in conducting epidemiological research for a better understanding of the requirements of various groups of people to be able to provide maximum benefit to them through their services. The Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study, completed in 1999, was one of the first such studies to be conducted in the country.
This outreach program, through support from Christoffel Blindenmission, Germany and Sightsavers International, UK, caters efficiently to a wide and disparate population.
Objectives of GPR-ICARE:
- To develop high quality self-sustaining eye care services in neglected areas of India and other parts of the developing world
- To train all cadres of eye care personnel for the provision of and efficient eye care services
- To participate in planning eye health initiatives in the developing world
- To undertake operations and research projects to understand the best way to deliver eye care services to communities