Free eyecare services for Dongria Kondhs
Rayagada/Bissamkatak: The members of Dongria Kondh community living in Niyamgiri hills of Rayagada district, who were recently in news for refusing to take Covid-19 vaccines, are having free eye treatment at their door steps.
With the Tribal Odisha Eye Disease Study (Toes)-a Diagnostic Action Research Project inaugurated Friday at Khajuri and Kadragumma villages of Kurli panchayat under Bissamkatak block by Collector Saroj Kumar Mishra, it is hoped that the members of this particularly vulnerable tribal group who have long been living with eye diseases will benefit immensely.
Under this project, which is organised jointly by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Odisha PVTG Empowerment and Livelihoods Improvement Programme (OPELIP) and LV Prasad Eye Institute of Hyderabad under the aegis of the ministry of tribal affairs, the members of the PVTG are going to get free eye checkup, treatment, operation and glasses.
According to a source, a target has been set to test 10,190 members of 2,600 Dongria Kondh families living in 99 villages in Niyamgiri hills in three months.
Informing about the project, project manager of Chatikana OPELIP, Sudarshan Padhi said the members of Dongria Kondh community have shown interest to get their eyes tested.
“On the first day, over 200 members turned up and received treatment,” he added.
Notably, the Dongria Kondh tribals, who live their lives according to a set of their own principles, had refused to undergo RT-PCR test when some administrative officials approached them during the second wave of the pandemic to convince them for the same.
Even, they had said they were not worried about Covid-19. However, after much persuasion, they had agreed to undergo RT-PCR test and receive doses.