Rich praise for eye hospital

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 21.11.04

Nov. 21: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today declared city-based Sri Sankardeva Nethralaya a ?centre of excellence? in the field of eyecare.

Addressing a function after visiting the eye hospital, Singh said he was deeply impressed by the facilities available there.

He said Nethralaya should keep up the good work and serve as an example in the field of healthcare in the region. Sri Sankardeva Nethralaya, one of the biggest of its kind in the region, is a hospital-cum-postgraduate institute under Sri Kanchi Sankara Health and Educational Foundation.

Its chief patron is Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Kamakoti Peetam Jayendra Saraswati.

Though the Prime Minister did not mention anything about possible assistance from New Delhi for the hospital, he talked to ophthalmologists and took stock of the state of affairs at the hospital.

Nethralaya managing director and ophthalmologist Harsha Bhattacharjee said the Prime Minister?s declaration and appreciation would go a long way and inspire the hospital to render more service to the people of the region.

Highlighting the various projects taken up by the hospital, Bhattacharjee said Nethralaya had awarded ?letters of appreciation? to family members of 17 eye donors early this year.

He said the aim of the programme was not merely to honour and felicitate the family members who have donated eyes of their loved ones for the benefit of humankind but also inspire the present generation to go in for donation.

After five years of continued public education programmes, the Nethralaya received its first eye donation in February 2001. There have been 38 eye donations so far. Besides, more than 800 people have pledged their eyes.

Assam has some three per cent of the country?s total blind population of 18 million.

Experts say the main reasons for the dearth of donors is a lack of awareness among the general public, improper development of infrastructure, absence of motivation even among trained personnel and social and religious taboos.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi also showered praise on Sri Sankardeva Nethralaya for its healthcare facilities.

He said the hospital has been able to arrest the exodus of patients to institutes outside the region.

A host of dignitaries attended the function. They included governor Lt Gen. (retd) Ajai Singh, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh, Assam Human Rights Commission chairman Justice S.N. Phukan and state police chief P.V. Sumant.