Sensitising Emerging Eye Care specialists to MDVI

A group of ophthalmic paramedic trainees and instructor from the training.

A group of ophthalmic paramedic trainees and instructor from the training.

Perkins India organised a sensitisation training about children with MDVI for the Certified Ophthalmic Paramedics (COP) trainees of Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi. The Certified Ophthalmic Paramedics (COP) programme is one of the flagship programmes of Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital. 

The programme trains young adults - mostly women from the rural communities - in ophthalmic paramedical courses and also seeks to develop their overall personality. This programme has enabled many COP trainees to become self-reliant and live a life of dignity. After completing their rigorous training in Delhi the graduates go on to take positions in the hospitals of different states, villages and communities of the country. 

In the training, Supriya Das, Project Coordinator for Perkins India, introduced nearly 30  trainees to various types of disabilities and the existence of concomitant disabilities in children. Further, they learned about Multiple Disabilities along with Visual Impairment (MDVI), its different characteristics and the different needs of children with MDVI. For most of these young women, this was their first exposure to disability and they expressed a great deal of curiosity about  the topic. 

The interactive session spurred a great deal of energy among the trainees. Sunita Arora, COP Program Manager shared, “The training was interesting and lively as the trainer encouraged everyone to participate thus the whole experience became enjoyable.” 

The training also covered the importance of creating community awareness and parent counselling to help them understand that children with MDVI can learn and thrive to their best potential if identified and given the right support. 

Arora says, “These young women being part of the community became sensitive to the special needs of the special needs children. As early identification matters in shaping the lives in a positive manner, these young women are an instrument of early referral, advocacy and can motivate the families; they can contribute a great extent to the beautiful cause that Perkins stands for.”

a group of trainees attend a training session

One of the trainees shared, “This training helped us learn about the existence of visual issues in children having other disabilities. This will help us in the assessment of vision as now we have the idea on how to observe such signs in these children.”

Inspired to take action, another COP trainee shared, “In my village and also in my future region of work I can talk to every family or parent who has a child with MDVI and convince them about the benefits of intervention.” 

“The COP training programme is a beautiful program through which they are creating promising future professionals who will be working in the field of vision treatment, restoration and rehabilitation. Through their work these professionals are very likely to come in contact with children having additional/multiple disabilities along with a visual impairment. Hence, with these kinds of training we can help them develop the understanding of the term MDVI, how to notice MDVI in children and the plausible affects of rehabilitation. And this is going to help many vulnerable children to get timely identified and receive the much needed intervention,” says Supriya Das.