“In a country that is globally recognized for seeing health as a seva and considering its health professionals as life saviours, we can similarly create “seva bhav” of donating organs and make a mindshift in our countrymen towards eye and organ donation.” This was stated by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Mansukh Mandaviya during the 37th National Eye Donation Fortnight celebrations today at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Celebrations are organized annually from 25th August to 8th September by National Eye Bank housed in Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, New Delhi for promoting awareness regarding eye donation, felicitating the donor families, government and non-government organizations for their crucial role towards this noble cause.
Underscoring importance of eye donation, he stated that organ donation provides quality life to the recipient and a sense of satisfaction for the donor families. Dr. Mandaviya expressed his heartfelt thanks to the donor families for their noble deed of donating corneas of their loved ones which will give the gift of vision to the needy patients. Quoting Bhagwat Gita’s shloka of “karmanye vadhika raste, Ma phaleshu kadachana”, Dr. Mandaviya also highlighted about the country’s vibrant Indian culture and traditions that teach us “Seva Bhav and “Sahyog”.
Union Health Minister also noted that “despite having rich knowledge and defined responsibility, there has been less than expected response towards organ donation from our citizens. There needs to be behavioral shift towards organ donation in the country. I urge everyone for widespread awareness for this through a Jan Andolan.” He hoped that this realization and steps would lead to a significant progress towards boosting organ donation in the country.
Highlighting Government’s effort towards this cause, he added that Government of India is working towards a robust and systematic work structure for boosting organ donation and efficiently achieving the targets. He appreciated efforts of the National Eye Bank and other stakeholders towards corneal transplantation, awareness programs and making related services further accessible to the common public.
An annual report of the National Eye Bank, RP Centre for the year 2021-22 was released at the event. Report highlighted the crucial role played by National Eye Bank (NEB) in addressing the issue of corneal blindness in the country. More than 31,500 corneas have been collected, over 22,350 visual rehabilitations through corneal transplantation and greater than 70% utilization rate since 1965 has been achieved so far. NEB has also played a crucial role in promoting eye donation activities, corneal transplantation, educating and training medical workforce, eye banking research, motivating general public along with several other activities.
Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, Prof Jeewan S Titiyal, Chief, RP Centre, Prof Radhika Tandon, Chairperson, National Eye Bank along with senior faculty of AIIMS, RP Centre, experts, representatives of supporting government organisations, partner institutions and NGOs/societies, school children and senior govt officials were present at the event.