Dr.Bharti Kashyap : Navigating Health Care Reform in Jharkhand

Over the past three decades, Dr Bharti Kashyap, MBBS, MS (Ophthalmology) and Fellow in Cornea, has been a change agent- combating blindness in rural Jharkhand, preventing students from dropping out from schools, empowering women to take better control of their lives, to spearheading Jharkhand’s campaign against cervical cancer, the Number One killer of women, worldwide.

Ensuring a lifetime of healthy vision in rural Jharkhand : Combating Blindness in Rural Jharkhand

It all began in 1995, when as a fresh MBBS graduate and a PG student at the then Rajendra Medical College and Hospital, Ranchi, (now renamed Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi),Dr.Bharti Kashyap conducted the first ever eye screening of some 10,000 children, enrolled in state run schools, at Ramgarh, 45 kms away from Ranchi. The results of the sample eye screening startled her – rampant Vitamin A deficiency and a high incidence of eye infections, squints, lazy eye, uncorrected refractive errors and use of wrong eye glasses, probably gifted by some generous agency. Parents of these children, simply forced their children to drop out from schools, as a precaution, to save the little ones, from injuring themselves. To combat high school dropout rates, Dr Kashyap began organising free eye camps in every district of Jharkhand, to address the main causes of avoidable blindness in Jharkhand, bringing quality eye care at the door steps of people, who needed it most. At every camp, she distributed thousands of Vitamin A tablets, provided treatment for eye infections at camp sites, and gifted eye glasses to men, women and children, to correct refraction errors, all for free. For those needing surgical interventions, she ferried all, to her base hospital- Kashyap Memorial Eye Hospital at Ranchi, for free cataract removal.

bharti Kashyap

TTill date, Dr.Kashyap has screened the eyes of around 20 lakh school children, enrolled in state run schools across Jharkhand. Not only school going children, the list of beneficiaries of Dr.Kashyap’s numerous eye camps include primitive tribes, victims of human trafficking, newspaper hawkers, diabetics, old age home residents, slum dwellers, spastics, sportswomen and even truck drivers. Dr.Bharti Kashyap, in association with the Social Welfare Department, Government of Jharkhand, has also undertaken eye screening of sportsmen, both boys and girls, mostly from the impoverished and forgotten sections of the people. The State of Jharkhand has gifted numerous hockey players to the national men and women teams. Eye screening of sportsmen up would enable budding boys and girls to improve their performances and even have a swipe at the gold,silver and bronze medals at national and international sports events.

Breaking religious and social taboos surrounding Eye Donation
A. Founding Kashyap Memorial Eye Bank It was Late Dr. Bharat Prasad Kashyap, Professor and Head of the Department (Eye) Rajendra Medical College and Hospital, Ranchi, now renamed Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi, who in early Seventies, realized the grave situation of corneal blindness in people across Jharkhand. He met Dr. Peter Anderson of Australia at one of the blind relief camps and the ball started rolling. With the help of the Australian doctor, Late Prof. Kashyap could procure six corneas from Australia. Prof. Dr.Bharat Prasad Kashyap grafted those six corneas on 1st Jan. 1979.Later in the year 1991 Dr Kashyap got individual membership from Eye Bank association of India. Their efforts bore fruit, when in 1995, she received the first posthumous eye donation of Late Harishankar Prasad in the state. Later she got institutional membership from Eye Bank Association of India in year 1996 and Kashyap Memorial Eye Bank was founded in the year 2002. The eye bank has 795 Corneal Transplantation to its credit. In the past 5 years, Kashyap Memorial Eye Bank, has performed 334 cornea transplants. Beginning 2022 till date, the Eye Bank has successfully performed 148 cornea transplants, mostly free under Ayushman Bharat. Breaking religious and social taboos surrounding Eye Donation

From awareness programs to walkathons and Blindfolded Marathons over the past 32 years
Over the past 32 years continued eye donation awareness programs and yearly Run for Vision, Blindfolded Marathons to encourage people and families to pledge their eyes and even donate the eyes of their deceased family members, has turned the onetime small campaign into a mass movement. Encouraged by the efforts of the society, past Hon’ble Governors of Jharkhand, Smt.Droupadi Murmu, Shri Ramesh Bais, Shri Ved Marvah, Shri M. O. H. Farook, Shri Syed Ahmed, Chief Ministers of Jharkhand, Hon’ble Shri Babulal Marandi, Shri Arjun Munda, Shri Shibu Soren, Shri Hemant Soren, Health Ministers of Jharkhand, Shri Bhanu Pratap Shahi, Shri Ramchandra Chandravanshi and Shri Banna Gupta have not only participated in our Eye Donation Awareness Programs but also pledged their eyes This has brought a massive positive response towards eye donation. The first Eye Bank in unified Bihar and Jharkhand, Kashyap Memorial Eye Bank, Ranchi, has so far received over 10,000 eye donation pledges from men and women from all walks of life. Eye donation pledges continue to soar each year. Till date, Kashyap Memorial Eye Bank, Ranchi, has undertaken 795 cornea transplants. During the Corona pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, Kashyap Memorial Eye Bank, Ranchi, achieved a historic milestone of successfully conducting 124 free cornea transplants. In the past 5 years, the Eye Bank has ensured 334 cornea transplant and since 2022 till date, 148 cornea transplants have been done free of cost mostly under Ayushman Bharat.
Capacity Building to help Jharkhand combat preventable blindness.

To lend teeth to her fight against blindness, she has trained thousands of school teachers working in government schools all over the state, in primary vision testing, detection of cataracts, Vitamin A deficiency, etc. Since 2004, Dr.Bharti Kashyap has also been training B.Sc Optometry students through various Paramedical Courses affiliated to IGNOU, FOREC, B.Sc Internship Training program and State level Councils , thereby creating a pool of trained manpower for the State of Jharkhand to reach the goal of reducing prevalence of blindness from 0.8 % to 0.3 % under the Vision 2020 programme. In the field of ophthalmology, she has pioneered use of world’s latest innovation in cataract surgery (Femto Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery), in the Bihar and Jharkhand. Using World’s latest Femto Laser bladeless Lasik surgery, she has provided spectacle free vision to the needy youth and crafted their future. She also has the maximum number of international presentations to her credit in the field of Ophthalmology from State of Jharkhand.

Leading Crusade against Cervical Cancer in Jharkhand; Enabling Women to lead healthy lives

An eminent ophthalmologist, Dr.Bharti Kashyap, has been transcending boundaries, to make rural women aware of the need to take better care of themselves and educating them on personal hygiene by organising free Women Mega Health Camps, Anemia and Cervical Cancer Detection Camps throughout the length and breadth of Jharkhand.. In 2014, after being elected Chairperson, Women Doctors’ Wing, Indian Medical Association, Jharkhand, Dr.Kashyap galvanised fellow women doctors to launch the first ever major offensive, against Cervical Cancer, the number one killer of women, worldwide. Dr.Kashyap led the Women Doctors Wing to organise series of Mega Women Health Camps, throughout the rural areas and in State run Sadar Hospitals of Jharkhand focusing on Cervical Cancer detection and treatment, at the camp sites. Oncologists from Kolkata and New Delhi were also roped in by her, to lend a helping hand at these camps. The Mega Women Health camps and Anemia and Cervical Detection camps have helped expose the myths of women’s right to health. Sixty percent of women who turned up at these camps were detected to be suffering from genital infections and itching in their private parts, caused by ignorance of basic hygiene, irregular menstruation, heavy bleeding and lower abdominal and back pain . Most girls and women in rural areas were found to be using cloth, cleaning and drying them and reusing them over and over again during menstruation, each month .Unhealthy diet, early marriage, early age at first intercourse, multiple pregnancies and tobacco use , made girls and women in rural Jharkhand, more prone to cervical cancer. At all Mega Health camps, women were educated on nutrition, anaemia, personal hygiene, safe sex etc. Women were also trained to look out for early warning signs – repeated genital infections, irregular menstruation, excessive bleeding, white discharge, lower abdominal and back pain etc. – all vital symptoms of pre cervical cancer. In 2015, realising that much was needed to be done in very short time periods, Dr.Kashyap got in touch with experts from Chittaranjan Cancer Institute, Kolkata and Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre and Max Hospital, New Delhi to impart training to all women doctors employed with the state health services on use of Cryo Machines and Colposcope for early detection and cure of cervical cancer. Dr.Kashyap’s major contribution in the field of women empowerment and her battle against cervical cancer was in 2021, when she successfully convinced the state government to agree to a proposal of evolving an easier to implement a “Jharkhand Model”, a multi prongued low cost yet effective strategy, modifying the 3rd part of WHO strategy of cervical cancer eradication, to suit Jharkhand’s requirements. Dr.Kashyap’s “Jharkhand Model” suggested cervical cancer screening of at least 6 percent women in the reproductive age group, having symptoms of pelvic inflammation and mandatory screening of all pregnant women, and accompanying female relatives, turning up at state hospitals for ante natal and post delivery check ups, at the state run Sadar Hospitals . The state government, has accepted all recommendations put forth by Dr.Bharti Kashyap. The state health department has already begun fixing annual targets for cervical cancer screening for all the 24 state run Sadar Hospitals in Jharkhand. From April 2021 to March 2022, Jharkhand, 1,27,000 women, from April 2022 and March 2023 1,04,271 women and from April 2023 to August 2023, 31,803 women from reproductive age group suffering from pelvic inflammatory disease were screened and treated by oral medication and/or cryo therapy as per needed. The Jharkhand Model is expected to evolve as the gold standard in Cervical Cancer eradication.


Dr.Bharti Kashyap has been conferred with national level awards like Nari Shakti Puraskar for women empowerment, 2017, by the President of India, Doctor of the Year Award by the National Indian Medical Association for exemplary community services in 2017, Association of Community Ophthalmologist of India Award for successful implementation of Indian National Programme for Control of Blindness in 2015, Med Achiever National Award for community services in 2014, and Leadership development Award by All India Ophthalmic Society in 2008. She was one of the 6 women invited by Hon’ble Narendra Modi at Chai pe Charcha, organized to focus on women empowerment on international women’s day 2014. She has been lauded by Service Beyond Borders, USA, for extraordinary contribution towards women empowerment amongst primitive tribal and underprivileged women in Jharkhand for 2015,2016,2017 and 2018. Her State level awards include Start up India Award, 2016, felicitated for exemplary work in cervical cancer and anemia prevention campaign, 2016, Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board award, 2014, Women Achiever Award, 2014, Best Doctor Award, 2012, Pratibha Samman, 2012, Jharkhand Ratna Award,2010, Successful Women Entrepreneurship Award, 2009, IMA Award, 2009, D.K. Bose Gold Medal, 2002 and Dukhan Ram Oration Award, 1996.

Impact/Outcome of the work done by Dr.Bharti Kashyap
  1. Jharkhand on way to evolve as the first Cervical Cancer free state in the country:
    Following up on Dr Kashyap’s recommendations of a JHARKHAND MODEL, the State Health Department, for the first time in history, has launched an intensive cervical cancer screening programme all over the state by fixing annual screening targets for all state run Sadar hospitals across Jharkhand. Between April 2021 and March 2022, Jharkhand has screened 1,27,000 women, around 50% of intended target of 2,70,000 women in the reproductive age group with suggestive symptoms or from high risk category. As a result of Dr.Kashyap’s innovative initiatives, Jharkhand is now well on its way to evolve as the first Cervical Cancer free state of the country.
  2. Saved thousands of women from Cervical Cancer :
    Mega Women Health Camps for Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening and Anaemia Detection that have been organised across the rural areas of Jharkhand since 2015, focussing on screening, treatment of pelvic inflammatory diseases, and treatment of cervical pre cancer at camp sites, by reputed gynaecologists from all over the country, ensured quality healthcare facilities to the needy, at their door steps, helping save thousands of lives of women. As a result of Dr.Kashyap’s relentless campaign against cervical cancer, 14 government hospitals across Jharkhand have now been equipped with digital colposcope and Cryo set for detection and cure of cervical cancer.
  3. Spreading hope in people and society :
    The most noticeable impact of Dr.Kashyap’s relentless campaign against blindness in rural Jharkhand has been that thousands of children, who had earlier dropped out of schools as a rewslt of their untreated eye ailments, rejoined their schools, after being provided free eye care treatment including surgeries for cataract removal,by Dr.Kashyap. Add to this, thousands of men and women in rural areas, primitive tribes, victims of human trafficking, newspaper hawkers, diabetics, old age home residents, slum dwellers, spastics, sportswomen and even truck drivers, who were provided with quality eye care, have found gainful occupations for themselves. Dr.Kashyap and her initiatives have helped create happy households across Jharkhand.
  4. Breaking taboos around eye donation:
    Igniting that ‘spark’, motivating people to overcome apprehensions and donate the eyes of their deceased loved ones, over the past 30 years, Dr.Kashyap has not only helped grieving families to work their way out of grief but have helped spread the message in the society that something good can come out even in the worst of tragedies and disasters. To help break religious and social taboos surrounding Eye Donation, an Eye Donation Awareness Club (EyeDAC). was formed on 4th June 2004 , comprising eminent people from all walks of life. The Founder President was Mr. Mahesh Bareja the then Principal of Delhi Public School, Ranchi and the Founder Secretary was Mr. Baijnath Mishra the then Resident Editor of leading Hindi Daily of Jharkhand, Prabhat Khabar. All the Executives represent different print media and electronic channels. The current President of EyeDAC is Mr. Anuj Sinha, State Editor of Prabhat Khabar and the current Secretary is Mr. Rajesh Tomar, Head of News Nation. The continued eye donation awareness programs and yearly Run for Vision, Blindfolded Marathons encouraged people and families to pledge their eyes and even donate the eyes of their deceased family members. It has turned the onetime small campaign into a mass movement.
Other Relevant Information
  1. FACILITATING CAPACITY BUILDING OF PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE UNITS OF STATE HOSPITALS DURING COVID TIMES: During the pandemic years, Dr Kashyap joined hands with the Jharkhand Health Department to facilitate online training by specialist doctors from University of California at Los Angeles, University of Texas and University of Illinois, USA, on critical care, preparation of Pediatric Intensive Care Units and treatment protocols to combat a possible third Covid wave and outbreak of the virus in children . The program was arranged for Pediatricians working in state run medical college and hospitals, district hospitals, malnutrition treatment centres, Special New Born Care Units, New Born Stabilization Units, physicians and pediatricians, posted in 28 new Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) all over Jharkhand.
  2. COMBATING VACCINE HESITANCY: Following hostile attacks on vaccination teams, Dr.Kashyap organized Mass Online Awareness Campaigns in 2021, connecting tribal religious leaders and Health and Jal Sahiyas, Anganwadi Workers, Sakhi Mandal members, to spread awareness, dispel fears, combat Covid vaccine hesitancy and speed up the pace Covid vaccination programme throughout remote tribal areas across Jharkhand. As a result of her innovative efforts, the momentum of Covid vaccination, was greatly speeded up throughout the state.
  3. LAUNCH OF FREE BLACK FUNGUS HELPLINE: During Covid years, Dr.Kashyap launched a free 24 hour free helpline number to educate, counsel, assist and dispel fears on post Covid black fungal infection, or Mucormycosis.
  4. STRENGTHENING IN INFRASTRUCTURE FOR CERVICAL CANCER DETECTION & PRECANCER CURE: To speed up cervical cancer screening of women in the reproductive age group, Dr.Kashyap , in her personal capacity, donated a Digital Video Colposcope with computer and Cryo set to Sadar Hospital at Ranchi. Due to her efforts 12 big government hospitals across Jharkhand have been equipped with digital colposcope and Cryo set.

Contribution To The Field Of Ophthalmology
Core member of Institutional Ethics Committee of Kashyap Memorial Eye Hospital registered under CDSCO (Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) to promote high ethical standards in research for ophthalmology. Founder Director of Kashyap Memorial Eye Hospital, Ranchi, NABH accredited for four consecutive terms since Feb 2009 and providing masses of Jharkhand best quality treatment at affordable cost. Brought latest diagnostic and surgical innovations in the field of Ophthalmology. Pioneered use of worlds latest innovation in cataract and lasik surgery, femto laser assisted cataract and lasik surgery has crafted the future of many youth by spectacle free vision. Chief instructor in Technical Skill Transfer Courses 2017 and 2018 in All India Ophthalmological Society conferences.

Paper Presentation At International Level
Has maximum number of international presentations to her credit in the field of Ophthalmology from State of Jharkhand. American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Washington DC 2022, Boston Virtual ASCRS 2020, San Diego 2019, Washington DC 2018 and Los Angeles, California 2017. European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Paris 2019, Vienna 2018, Lisbon 2017, Copenhagen 2016, Barcelona 2015. American Academy of Ophthalmology Chicago, IL 2016. Asia Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Bali and Taipei 2016. Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology ARVO, USA 2013 and 2012. Has played role in strengthening knowledge of ophthalmologists of Jharkhand by organizing workshops on Cornea, OT Design and Protocol, Tips and Tricks in Femto laser cataract and Lasik surgery, Vitreo Retinal surgery and Glaucoma and Retinopathy of Prematurity 2007 to 2022.