The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has set itself an ambitious task of helping eradicate corneal blindness from India.
The Sangh will soon launch a pan-India campaign to fight corneal blindness by raising awareness about eye donation through its affiliate SAKSHAM (Samadrishti, Kshamata Vikas Evam Anusandhan Mandal), an organisation that works for the differently abled.
Inspired by Sri Lanka, which donates the maximum number of corneas for transplant around the world, the RSS has roped in religious leaders, who preach and hold public sermons to dispel myths about organ donation.
“We are already creating awareness about body donation. Like Sri Lanka, where cornea donation is so high, we want corneal blindness in India to be overcome through eye donations,” said Lalit Anand, general secretary of Saksham , adding that former Sangh chief K Sudarshan’s eyes were also donated in 2012.
While the Sangh members will create awareness about eye donation and how corneal blindness can be prevented and cured, religious leaders have also been asked to correct perceptions about organ donation.
“We have asked religious leaders to speak about the merits of organ donation during their discourses. There are many people who are superstitious about organ donation and believe it leads to deformities in the next birth, we are countering all these myths,” Anand said.
The RSS has set 2018 as the cut-off date by which the waiting list for corneal transplant will be reduced to zero.
“In 2008, we started a campaign on a pilot basis in three states of Maharashtra, Haryana and Kerala. We canvassed extensively about the merits of eye donation and have managed to bring down the waiting list for corneal transplant to zero,” Anand said.
Buoyed by the results in these three states, the RSS has decided to extend the campaign to other parts of the country. RSS general secretary Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi will launch the drive in the Capital on Saturday.
Anand said the Sangh has picked eye donation as a mission because it wants to focus on a campaign that could be taken to its logical conclusion.