Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for launching massive multimedia campaigns in local languages involving celebrities and icons to create awareness about eye donation among the people.
The Vice President who arrived in Chennai on a week long visit was speaking virtually during the inaugural function of the 36th National Eye Donation Fortnight celebrations organised by AIIMS. Referring to the huge gap between demand of donor cornea tissues and supply, he said the need of the hour was to increase awareness among people about the importance of eye donation.
Pointing out that many people were not coming forward for eye donation due to false beliefs, he said if everyone made a pledge to donate their eyes, the entire backlog of cases waiting for corneal transplant could be wiped out.
The Vice President also stressed the need for a structured eye-banking system to bridge the gap between demand and supply by facilitating generation of donor tissues and ensuring their equitable distribution.He called for redefining India’s share and care philosophy in a modern context to inspire people and promote organ donation.
Pointing out that the restrictions placed on corneal retrieval due to the covid pandemic had led to a dearth of tissues required for transplantation, he called for modifying the guidelines regarding eye-banking and innovative measures such as long-term preservation of tissues and alternative surgical procedures to overcome the crisis.
The Vice President also said there was an urgent need to devise a multi-pronged strategy for strengthening preventive and curative eye care especially in rural and remote parts of the country.
Panchayati Raj Institutions, urban local bodies and NGOs needed to be involved in augmenting these efforts. He called for equipping public sector eye hospitals with the latest technologies to provide quality treatment as many people living in rural areas could not afford the high cost of treatment at private hospitals.
The Vice President lauded the eye bank for empowering thousands of people affected with corneal blindness with the gift of vision over the last five decades.