Kalpetta, India. Project Vision, a movement of the Claretians of Bangalore Province, inaugurated three eye collection centers in the Wayanad district of Kerala, in collaboration with three catholic hospitals in the district. The Catholic Church has been promoting the eye donation movement through Project Vision, based in Bangalore.
Shri Alphonse Kannanthanam, Union Minister for Tourism, called for a new law that can made the collection of eyes a responsibility of all the citizens. He proposed that eye collection must be considered as a deemed consent in all cases unless clearly expressed otherwise. He called for the support of all political parties to enact such a law. He spoke at the inauguration of the first Eye Collection Centres in Wayanad in a function at the Fathima Hospital, Kalpetta, Wayanad, Kerala. The three eye centers for Wayanad are found at Fathima Mission Hospital in Kalpetta, Good Shepherd Hospital in Vythiri and St Martin’s Hospital in Ampalavayal.
Presiding over the function, Fr George Kannanthanam, CMF, founder of Project Vision, said that Wayanad District for the first time is getting an opportunity to donate eyes through the three eye collection centers. A phone number has been created for anyone to access this facility – 6235002244. He requested the minister to create a national phone number for eye collection.
Moreover, Mr. Shasheedran of MLA offered his assistance to have a vehicle for eye collection for the district from his MLA fund in his message at the program. District Panchayat President Smt K B Naseema, who took part in the program offered all her support to the movement. Fr Thomas Therakam, Patron of Project Vision, Wayanad Unit gave the welcome address and Fr Sebastian Adichilath, the Director of Fathima Hospital proposed the vote of thanks. Then, Fr. Reju Kannanpuzha, Assistant Director of Little Flower Hospital, said that Eye Collection centers will be linked to the Little Flower Eye Hospital in Angamali. They will provide all the technical support for this project. He said that everyone can donate their eyes. It has to be collected within six hours. It is a free gift and there is no money involved in eye donation.
Eyes have to be collected within six hours of death. They can be collected from hospital or from the houses. There are no limitations for eye donations. People of all ages, those using spectacles, and those with diseases can also donate their eyes. The consent of the surviving family is the only requirement. This is a free donation that involves no money. Only corneas will be collected from the eyes and not the whole eye. Thus, there won’t be any disfigurement for the person after eye donation. This is a small operation that will take only about 15 minutes. Eyes can also be collected from mortuary.
Mr Josy, who has been trained for eye collection was felicitated on the occasion. Various organizations who were organizing partners for the BlindWalk program organized by Project Vision in 2017 were also felicitated on the occasion.
INDIA has the largest number of blind persons in the world – 15 million. Project Vision is an initiative to inspire people to donate eyes that can give sight to about 20% of blind persons. Jesus giving sight to the blind is the inspiration behind this ministry to reach out to the blind persons who are one of the most distressed among the people in the peripheries, which is a Claretian decision to reach out to in the last Chapter.