Effect of Door-to-Door Screening and Awareness Generation Activities in the Catchment Areas of Vision Centers on Service Use: Protocol for a Randomized Experimental Study

A vision center (VC) is a significant eye care service model to strengthen primary eye care services. VCs have been set up at the block level, covering a population of 150,000-250,000 in rural areas in North India. Inadequate use by rural communities is a major challenge to sustainability of these VCs. This not only reduces the community’s vision improvement potential but also impacts self-sustainability and limits expansion of services in rural areas. The current literature reports a lack of awareness regarding eye diseases and the need for care, social stigmas, low priority being given to eye problems, prevailing gender discrimination, cost, and dependence on caregivers as factors preventing the use of primary eye care.

Our organization is planning an awareness-cum-engagement intervention—door-to-door basic eye checkup and visual acuity screening in VCs coverage areas—to connect with the community and improve the rational use of VCs.

In this randomized, parallel-group experimental study, we will select 2 VCs each for the intervention arm and the control arm from among poor, low-performing VCs (ie, walk-in of ≤10 patients/day) in our 2 operational regions (Vrindavan, Mathura District, and Mohammadi, Kheri District) of Uttar Pradesh. Intervention will include door-to-door screening and awareness generation in 8-12 villages surrounding the VCs, and control VCs will follow existing practices of awareness generation through community activities and health talks. Data will be collected from each VC for 4 months of intervention. Primary outcomes will be an increase in the number of walk-in patients, spectacle advise and uptake, referral and uptake for cataract and specialty surgery, and operational expenses. Secondary outcomes will be uptake of refraction correction and referrals for cataract and other eye conditions. Differences in the number of walk-in patients, referrals, uptake of services, and cost involved will be analyzed.

Background work involved planning of interventions and selection of VCs has been completed. Participant recruitment has begun and is currently in progress.

Through this study, we will analyze whether our door-to-door intervention is effective in increasing the number of visits to a VC and, thus, overall sustainability. We will also study the cost-effectiveness of this intervention to recommend its scalability.

Cost-effectiveness of club-foot treatment in low-income and middle-income countries by the Ponseti method.

Club foot is a common congenital deformity affecting 150?000-200?000 children every year. Untreated patients end up walking on the side or back of the affected foot, with severe social and economic consequences. Club foot is highly treatable by the Ponseti method, a non-invasive technique that has been described as highly suitable for use in resource-limited settings. To date, there has been no evaluation of its cost-effectiveness ratio, defined as the cost of averting one disability-adjusted life year (DALY), a composite measure of the impact of premature death and disability. In this study, we aimed to calculate the average cost-effectiveness ratio of the Ponseti method for correcting club foot in sub-Saharan Africa.Using data from 12 sub-Saharan African countries provided by the international non-profit organisation CURE Clubfoot, which implements several Ponseti treatment programmes around the world, we estimated the average cost of the point-of-care treatment for club foot in these countries. We divided the cost of treatment with the average number of DALYs that can be averted by the Ponseti treatment, assuming treatment is successful in 90% of patients.We found the average cost of the Ponseti treatment to be US$167 per patient. The average number of DALYs averted was 7.42, yielding a cost-effectiveness ratio of US$22.46 per DALY averted. To test the robustness of our calculation different variables were used and these yielded a cost range of US$5.28-29.75. This is less than a tenth of the cost of many other treatment modalities used in resource-poor settings today.The Ponseti method for the treatment of club foot is cost-effective and practical in a low-income country setting. These findings could be used to raise the priority for implementing Ponseti treatment in areas where patients are still lacking access to the life-changing intervention.