India, 60 nuns "Ambassadors of sight" to encourage organ donation
The sisters participated in a meeting organized by the Claretian Fathers in Bangalore. The goal is to raise awareness on the issue of corneal transplantation. 39 million people with poor vision worldwide, including 15 million in India. Annually 140 thousand transplants are needed, but there are only 40 thousand donors. If all the "religious donated their own eyes, the whole issue” would be resolved.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) - About 60 Indian sisters from various congregations have pledged to donate their eyes upon their death. The decision was reached during a program organized by the Claretian Fathers at the Indian Institute of Spirituality in Bangalore.
The initiative is titled "The Vision Project" and aims to raise awareness on the issue of patients with vision problems. India is home to a third of blind people worldwide. This is why the religious are committed not only to donate their cornea, but also to become "Ambassadors of vision" in the places where they live and work.
The event was held on 29 February. Fr George Kannanthanam, the organizer, explained that it is a "program to make citizens aware of the problem and motivate the sisters to work for this cause. It falls in the biblical work of the Jesus, who showed a special love for the blind, as evidenced by the six miracles of healing the blind present in the Gospels. "
Worldwide, about 39 million people have poor vision and 15 million of them live in India. Their living conditions are really "sad because of the physical, social, psychological and economic challenges that they face" because of the disease. The majority of disabled people can not survive.
During the program several proposals were presented to help. Fr. George told the sisters do "not burn or bury your eyes. They could be the eyes for someone else. After your death, leave them to someone who has never seen the world. "
Eye donation is not widespread in India. Every year 140 thousand people need a cornea transplant, but the number of donors does not exceed 40 thousand. This means that 100 thousand patients are put on waiting lists.
According to the priest, the work of the sisters in society as "Ambassadors of Vision" can be crucial in countering the traditional distrust of cornea donation. The Ambassadors "will play a key role in the coordination between the family who has suffered a bereavement and the eye bank. They will have to talk to these families and encourage them to donate the deceased's body. If the family consent, the sisters can contact the nearest database that can proceed with the operation even six hours after death”.
If "all religious India donated their eyes - concluded Fr. George - and promised to donate in favor of the suffering blind, the demand for corneal transplants" could be met.