Government to promote eye donation

New Delhi: Government will work with NGOs to promote the concept of eye donation, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said.

The Minister said he would ensure that funds earmarked for National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) for the 12th Plan period (2012-17) are utilised optimally and he would take up the matter with the state governments.

The Ministry will review the progress of the NPCB with a view to toning up its implementation, he said.

Speaking at an event at Bangalore yesterday to mark World Sight Day, Vardhan said the government will be working with NGOs to promote concept of eye donation.

“There are many lapses on the part of both the donors’ families and the eye banks in implementing the wishes of a donor. Often the bereaved family members forget to call the eye banks. At other times, the collectors fail to turn up on time,” he noted.

NPCB was launched in 1976 as a 100 percent centrally- funded scheme with a goal to reduce prevalence of blindness.

However, the rate has not shown much appreciable difference even after 28 years, the Minister noted.

The rapid survey on avoidable blindness conducted during 2006-07 showed a reduction in the prevalence of avoidable blindness from 1.1 per cent in 2000 to 1 per cent in 2006.

NPCB now aims to bring down the prevalence of blindness to 0.3 per cent by 2020 from the present level of 1 percent.

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