Eye Bank Association Kerala
The Mission of The Eye Bank Association Kerala is to continuously educate general public about preventing blindness caused due to corneal disorders and facilitate availability of cornea in the shortest possible time wherever cure is required.
Objectives of Eye Bank Association Kerala are:
♦ Creating awareness about eye donation.
♦ Augment quality and quantity of corneas collected.
♦ Evolve and implement uniform medical and operational standards and practices which are on par with international standards
♦ Act as a resource center for all eye banks in the country.
Late Fr.Parikulam, Dr. K. L. Jacob, Dr. C. K. Eapen and Dr. Tony Fernandez joined hands together to start an "Eye Bank Association" to collect donor eyes for transplantation in the year 1970. Mr. J. P. Grifth, the managing director of J & P Coats (later known as Madura Coats) was elected as President and Mr. Mathukutty was elected as Secretary. Mr. Govindan, Manager of Coats was made the treasurer. The organization was registered as a charitable society on 5th October, 1970.
Misinterpreted regional beliefs, wrong concepts and the unawareness of eye donation among people restricted them from donating eyes in 1970s. Dr. Hudson Silva, founder and president of International Eye Bank, Tissue Bank, and the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society was contacted for supplying eyes to Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly. Initially, though we had problems with customs in getting the eyes transported, later on The Air Lanka and Indian Airlines agreed to transport eyes at free of cost. Many eyes were transported from Srilanka to Kerala for transplantation with the help of many persons who supported eye donation.
The main activity of the association was the propagation of the message on eye donation. It took almost 20 years to bring awareness of eye donation in the community. Mr. E. V. Philip was the first person who took initiative in donating his wife's eyes to the Eye Bank, which gave an inspiration for the movement. Rev. Fr. Rocky Vazhapally has been a great supporter of Eye donation. Being a Parish Priest, he could propagate the idea, inspire and motivate people in different parishes.
During initial stage of Eye Bank, though we collected thousands of donor's pledge forms, we could not receive any notification due to communication issues from donor's side. Hence 'Eye Donation Forum' was started in different parishes and other organizations in Kerala. Involvement of organizations in Eye donation played a vital role in development of the Eye Bank Association Kerala. Late Mr. Augustin Master’s efforts in giving eye donation awareness classes to these Eye Donation Forums needs to be mentioned. Now we are in a position to collect and transplant corneas locally and the excess corneas are transported to other hospitals all over India.
The Eye Bank owes all the staff, doctors, nurses and students of Little Flower Hospital for their whole hearted support and cooperation to get the organization running. The Eye Bank acknowledges the efforts taken by former directors of Little Flower Hospital especially Rev. Monsr. Abraham Karedan, Rev. Monsr. Sebastian Vadakkumpadan and Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Paul V Madan and our board members. Dr. T. P. Itteyarah has been the living force and guiding light in the organization. The excellent leadership he gave all these years has been commendable.
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