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Himachal lacks eye collection centres, says NGO

Posted on Aug 24 2014 | IANS

Shimla, Aug 24 : A public welfare trust here has sought the opening of eye collection centres across Himachal Pradesh that has more than 3,500 people suffering from corneal blindness.

"The state's lone eye bank in Shimla was established in 2010. In the last four years, the bank has collected only 72 corneas. Of those, 59 were transplanted. There are people who wish to donate eyes but there is no facility to collect them in the districts," Umang Foundation chairman Ajai Srivastava said Sunday.

He said it was strange that the government has not opened eye collection centres, except in Shimla town.

"Eye surgeons and technicians in all districts, except Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti, have been trained to collect eyes and money has been given to open eye collection centres, but no such centre has opened," he said.

Srivastava said it was not possible for the lone eye bank to collect cornea from across the state within six hours.

He said the government released Rs.15 lakh in May 2012 to start the second eye bank at the Rajendra Prasad Medical College in Tanda town in Kangra district.

"An assistant professor-rank eye surgeon from Rajendra Prasad Medical College was sent to AIIMS for eye transplant training. Not only this, a technician was also imparted training in Hyderabad. But the eye bank has not seen the light of the day yet," he said.

Srivastava said another hurdle in the availability of cornea was that the government has not appointed grief councillors in the eye bank in Shimla, a prerequisite to open an eye bank.

The councillors motivate members of a family who have lost their kin to donate the eyes.

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