Mangaluru, Dec 26, 2017: More than 10,000 volunteers have pledged their eyes in Dakshina Kannada in the last few months. Concerted awareness campaign by Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat has resulted in the phenomenal rise.
Volunteers have registered with Dakshina Kannada Blindness Control Society headed by the Chief Executive Officer of the panchayat. The campaign was taken up under the National Blindness Control Programme.
M.R. Ravi, panchayat Chief Executive Officer, told media that the panchayat set a “self-imposed target” of getting 10,000 volunteers registered by this month-end. Health officials have achieved it. The target was not set by the government.
He said that though Dakshina Kannada has been projected as the land of intellectuals, reality revealed that there was lack of awareness on organ donation.
The campaign on eye donation was taken up with a humane approach. The response has revealed that people are kind-hearted, he added.
M R Ravi said that government employees, college students, advocates and other people in general responded positively.
The data of registered donors would soon be preserved in digital form for any-time reference. He said that he and his wife have volunteered to donate their eyes. “We both pledged our eyes during the silver jubilee of our wedding anniversary in Mysuru,” he said.
The Government Wenlock Hospital in the city lacked an eye bank. The panchayat has taken up the matter with the Health Department authorities and it would pursue the matter. Ratnakar, District Blindness Control Officer and District Leprosy Officer, said that only 400 volunteers had registered to donate eyes in the district seven months ago. The awareness campaign was taken up after Mr. Ravi took charge, as it was his initiative. “The number of volunteers is now touching 11,000,” he said.
Dr. Ratnakar said that those volunteers who have submitted their consent forms have been issued with identity cards having phone numbers and other details. The family members should contact the doctors on the phone number upon the death of the volunteers. The volunteers have been told to keep their family members, relatives and friends informed on their pledge to enable the doctors to collect eye balls upon their death.
He said that 140 employees of the zilla panchayat secretariat and 500 students of Alva’s Education Foundation, Moodbidri, were among those who have pledged their eyes.