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Twin corneal gifts in two weeks of year

It’s been only little over two weeks into 2014 and already two corneal donations have been made to Roshni, giving the Jamshedpur-based social outfit that works for corneal donation scope for optimism.

Till last year, the number of donation was dismal in the state with just five each in 2011 and 2012 and six in 2013.

This month, of the two persons who have donated their eyes, one had been admitted to Tata Main Hospital (TMH), while the other person’s family contacted Roshni on their own. Roshni officials, however, refused to divulge details of the donors.

But, the credit for the surge in corneal donation goes to Roshni’s relentless campaign and help from Tata Main Hospital (TMH), Jamshedpur.

Roshni and Jamshedpur Eye Hospital have been campaigning for eye donation with the aim to generate awareness among Jamshedpur denizens on the procedure and debunk myths and misconceptions associated with it.

To encourage participation from rural areas, members of Roshni are also going outside the steel city to felicitate donor families in villages.

“We used to felicitate donor families at the hospital, but now we have started going to their homes. For the first time on December 31, 2013, our members went to Puncha block, Purulia, in Bengal, to thank a family with donation certificates. We will like to continue this, as it motivates people,” said Rajnish Kumar, member of Eye Bank Association and Roshni.

This year, Roshni will also target schools and colleges. Plans are afoot to tie-up with Interact Clubs of schools that will take up the awareness campaign as a project.

Roshni members also thank TMH for playing a crucial role in augmenting the number of donors.

“TMH alone has given us three donors in the last four months,” said Roshni member Parvinder Kapoor.

From October last year, TMH has been informing Roshni members of any death at the health hub. Though most of the deceased’s family members turn down the request of corneal gifts outright, recent donations are proving a slow change.

The police department had also promised to help Roshni . They had decided to inform Roshni counsellors about accident fatalities. Though the intent was good, results were not evident because they seldom notified Roshni. “We did not get much help from the police department,” Kapoor said.

In this sector, demand always outstrips supply. At present, there are about 18 corneal recipients in waiting. But Roshni wants to do away with the waiting list altogether. With a start like this, it looks possible.