Members of India's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are working all around the western Maharashtra region to raise awareness of cornea donation. This center-left Indian political party began their awareness campaign in the metropolitan city of Mumbai. They continued around Maharashtra for six whole days.
The AAP's head coordinator in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Satish Jain, told reporters that the campaign's goal is to let Indian people know about how and why they should consider donating their corneas after death. Jain helped organizers set up locations in both the center of Mumbai and in surrounding areas of the city.
The problem of blindness in India is very prevalent at the moment. Officials from the AAP say that there are about 37 million blind people in the world right now. Of those 37 million, 35 percent are living in India. Of those 35 percent living in India, about 10 percent have a form of blindness due to issues with the cornea.
Unfortunately, the rate of cornea donation in India is not keeping pace with the rate of people who are afflicted with corneal blindness. About 35,000 corneas are donated annually in India, but medical authorities need at least 150,000 corneas a year to begin to really address this problem.
The AAP hopes that their public talks will help spread awareness all over India. Not only will the AAP tell people who attend their events all about the statistics on corneal blindness in India, they will also make it very easy for people to apply to become a cornea donor. The AAP takes a whole stack of donation cards with them to every rally, and they hand them out to people who express interest in becoming a cornea donor.
People involved in this Zero Corneal Blindness campaign are very hopeful that this six-day campaign event will make a huge difference in combatting corneal blindness. They are also optimistic that their events will spread news on this issue rapidly across the nation.
Organizers planned for this Zero Corneal Blindness campaign to end on October 2nd. This date has extreme symbolic importance for Indians, since it is the birth anniversary of both Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Gandhi, of course, led the Indian independence movement that inaugurated modern India, and Shastri served as the second Prime Minister of India.
Eye banks in India can only officially accept corneas that have been removed from the eyes of a patient between four to six hours after death. Corneas can only be removed by an official medical authority.
If people want to become a cornea donor, they can register online using the link: www.aapkaclinictrust.com/netradaan.