On the occasion of World Sight Day, Health and Family Welfare Minister Punjab, Surjit Kumar Jyani rolled out a plan to Corneal Blindness free State. Addressing all the Civil Surgeons and senior officials he said that earlier a high-level round-table consultation was held to prepare a road map for this purpose.He disclosed that world sight day is being celebrated all over Punjab by organising special screening camps for Cataract, Glaucoma, Refractive errors, Diabetic retinopathy and Corneal diseases in all Civil Hospitals and Government Medical Colleges.Principal Secretary Health, Punjab, Ms Vini Mahajan said that the focus this year is on the identification of treatable corneal blind patients and getting them treated. The endeavour of Punjab Govt is to ensure that all stakeholders work in a planned and coordinated manner to achieve the target in a time bound manner.
Hussan Lal, Secretary, Health and Medical Education, explained that an Action Plan needs to be made for the success of this ambitious project. A database needs to be prepared for treatable corneal blind persons for which an online registration proforma is already available on official website of Health Department. Awareness campaign to prevent needless corneal blindness has to be launched effectively and up-scaling of infrastructure and other supportive measures need to be taken by the Govt of Punjab. He told about the provisions in Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act and the rules framed to implement it. The Punjab Govt has to adopt it with state specific amends. He insisted on strengthening the Hospital Corneal Retrieval Programme in big hospitals to procure more eyeballs.
State Programme Officer NPCB Punjab, Dr Rakesh Gupta enumerated the actionable points at the level of Civil Surgeons, Directorate of Medical Education and Research and In-charge of Eye Banks so that backlog of Corneal Blindness in Punjab can be cleared.He assured the participants that necessary amends will be made earnestly before adopting Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act. He appreciated the role of NGOs like Eye Donation Association in Punjab in creating awareness about eye donation.Dr.Bhag Mal DHS Punjab told about the measures already undertaken by the Govt to popularize Eye donation including pledging of eyes at the time of Driving Licence applications. He appealed to the general public to pledge their eyes for donation after death by registering online at www.pbhealth.gov.in. He also told that information about nearest eye bank in Punjab is available by calling Toll-free no 104.