With a view to sensitise the people towards the importance of eye donation, the Maharashtra unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched a six-day campaign.
“The drive, under which volunteers would create awareness among the people about donating the cornea after death, was kickstarted in the city as well as on the outskirts,” said Satish Jain, AAP’s coordinator for the Mumbai.
He said the party has come up with a portal — www.aapkaclinictrust.com/netradaan — where citizens can pledge their eyes for donation.
Citing the eye-bank data figures, Jain said there are around 3.7 crore blind people in the world, of which over 35 per cent are in India and 10 per cent of the 1.5 crore blind people in the country suffer from corneal blindness.
“During the drive, we would sensitise the people and collect their details. Thereafter, we plan to distribute donation cards among those who wish to pledge their eyes,” he said.
Currently, only 35,000 corneas are collected in the country every year, as against the 1,50,000 required to combat corneal blindness, Jain said, adding, “As a result, the wait to get a corneal transplant done keeps getting longer with each passing day.”
“Creating awareness among the masses and encouraging them to pledge their eyes for donation, therefore, is of paramount importance. All those who make the pledge will be contributing significantly towards Zero Corneal Blindness by setting an example among their relatives and friends,” he said.
The drive would conclude on October 2, on the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jain said.
According to the eye-bank rules, eyes can be donated only after death and must be removed within four to six hours after death only by a registered medical practitioner. A toll-free number, 1919, has also been launched across the country to provide information about the drive.