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Despite efforts of Vision 2020 in India, the Andhra Pradesh Eye Disease Study (APEDS) extrapolated, in 2000, approximately 18.7 million blind people in India and also, projected an increase to 31.6 million blind people by 2020. Within the state Andhra Pradesh itself, preventable corneal blindness increased to 1.84% from 1.5% in the late 1980s.
Numerous public health studies have been conducted to outline factors that cause and preclude treatment of avoidable corneal blindness in the India. Conclusively, the escalation of corneal blindness can be largely attributed to personal, social, and economic barriers in utilizing available eye-care services. However, due to the heterogeneity among regions in India, the degree and specificity of these respective barriers varies. Accordingly, no single approach can be implemented to effectively ameliorate eye health. Instead, population-based studies are required to understand individual regions and their varying levels of need.
Accordingly, this research is an examination of the female population in rural regions of Andhra Pradesh through the analysis of two major studies (1) the impact of private/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on economic development and (2) sociological factors, namely economic and social aspects, engendering lack of utilization of eye-care services, in order to find a correlation between these two seemingly disparate studies.
Overwhelmingly, the presence of private/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) increases economic status of regions by increasing access to both education and employment opportunities. In comparison to developed, urban areas, NGOs presence in rural regions is significantly limited leading to discrepancies in economic development, and thereafter, lack of opportunity for economic and social growth for females. Correspondingly, for years, higher incidences of corneal blindness have plagued the female population residing in underdeveloped, rural areas of India, especially in comparison to female counterparts in urban areas. I found this to be significantly attributed to an intermittent and cyclic combination of sociological limitations, specifically lack of education/employment opportunities and cultural/societal restrictions, which, in turn, are linked to comparably diminished levels of private/NGO sector involvement.
Only through understanding the correlation between these two aspects can intervention efforts be appropriately pursued to effectively reduce corneal blindness rates in this at-risk demographic group. This work increases our understanding of the limitations that exist in accessing treatment options for females and furthermore, obtained results can potentially be extended to other regions of India to create and implement similar public policies.
public health, cataract-related blindness, healthcare utilization barriers, poverty, women's health
Community-Based Research | Economic Policy | International Public Health | Medical Humanities | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Women's Health
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Mary C. Boyes
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