Control of blinding eye diseases in leprosy: strategies for India.
Over half of the people affected by leprosy worldwide are in India, many of whom are severely disabled when they present for care. Changes in policy and the integration of the leprosy programme with general health services has given rise to new challenges for the control of blinding eye disease in leprosy patients. This paper looks at the challenges posed: management, materials, manpower, money, and mobility--all of which are common barriers to the availability, access, and utilization of services--and to monitoring existing programmes. We consider strategies to overcome these challenges and fulfill the goal of VISION 2020--eliminating avoidable blindness--through the provision of comprehensive eye care and strengthening the existing infrastructure. Formal cooperation between national governments, non-governmental organisations, and International Development Agencies will need to continue, although possibly, in different roles and with plans modified to be relevant to the local needs of leprosy patients.