5,000 people donate their cornea in Maharashtra
Maharashtra has emerged as a leading state under the National Programme of Control of Blindness (NPCB) by collecting over 5,000 corneas of dead persons.
"We have successfully collected 5,885 corneas for the first time under the NPCB during 2008-09," Assistant Director of NPCB R M Kumbhar told PTI here.
With the state achieving highest ever figure, the official credited civic hospitals, which have started the facility of eye donation, for the success.
"Earlier, the eye donation facility was not available at civic hospitals and only private hospitals and eye banks had it. After starting it in civic hospitals, the results are really good," he said.
The response to eye donation was more in cities, with Mumbai leading with 2,595 corneas being collected in the metropolis, followed by Pune with 1,138 donations, Kumbhar said.
Other cities like Nagpur 623, Jalna (206), Thane (191) and Akola (122) also contributed to the noble cause, he said.
Rural areas such as Yavatmal (22), Washim (22), Akola (16), Bhandara (14), Jalgaon (14), Sindhudurg (10) and Amaravati (10) also responded well after awareness drive, Kumbhar said.
The report has been submitted to the Central Government and would be compared with other states, Kumbhar said. Last year, the Centre appreciated the state's efforts in collecting 4,985 corneas during 2007-08, he added.
Despite the highest collection of corneas so far, the state needs to go a long way, Kumbhar said, adding there is a need of about 10,000 corneas every year in the state.
"In the country, around a lakh corneas are needed per year against the availability of only around 35,000," he said.
A reason for the low eye donation figures could be that corneas have to be donated within six hours of the death of a person and used in 72 hours, he said.
"The state hospitals usually have a waiting list of those in need of eyes and eyes are donated to them as per the list," he said.