New Delhi: In a unique measure to sensitize employees to the needs of society and the less fortunate, Allergan India co-opted its 350 employees into pledging to donate eyes. The large group was brought together from across the country. They gathered in the wee hours of the morning at the Jawaharlal Nehru auditorium, formed a human chain and walked to Dr. R P Centre, united by the cause. 350 employees signed a pledge in support of eye donation. The walk was helmed by Mr. Sridhar Ranganathan, Allergan India, DrNamrata Sharma, DrJeewanS Titiyal, andDrRadhikaTandon, all professors of ophthalmology at AIIMS.
“At Allergan, the ethos of giving forms a part of our core value system.We also understand that philanthropy need not be restricted to monetary means. Our effort is to spread the culture of being charitable to society as a whole, which is why 600+ workforce of our organization has been able to participate. We are delighted to partner with the Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences and the National Eye Bank, at AIIMS, on this venture.As the centre celebrates 50 years of being, this is a landmark event for them too, to encourage the spirit of volunteer-ship,” said Mr. Sridhar Ranganathan, MD, Allergan India.
India needs over 2 lakh corneas a year, but only over 50,000 are donated. Of these, over 50% are rendered useless for transplant, as they do not meet the standards of transplantation. The National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) says India has 1.22 lakh bilaterally (in both eyes) corneal blind patients. Every year 25,000 to 30,000 new patients go blind with a corneal problem, which increases the waiting list. Only blindness due to a corneal issue can be rectified with a transplant.
“As a part of our culture statement, the Allergan’s Asia-Pacific region is embarking on the tenet of building bridges. These bridges are really campaigns, programmes, and events that help us as an organization, as teams, and also as individuals, reach out to people and connect. This collaborative effort ensures we keep the channels of communication open with each other, across functions, departments, and zones, even though we may not be physically under a single roof. The thought of eye donation came about by asking employees to send in their ideas on how we could build bridges within and outside the company. We hope that each one of our employees will become eye-donation ambassadors with their family and friends,” said Mr. Sridhar Ranganathan.
Eye donation is often not on the horizon of most people because of lack of awareness and sometimes, because of certain misconceptions. It’s important to get the message out that anyone of any age or sex can donate eyes-even those who have lived with diabetes and hypertension, and most other non-communicable diseases. One person can give sight to two people. Removing the eyes of a person who has passed on must be done within an hour of death; this can be done at home. It takes not more than 15 minutes and leaves no scars or disfigurement.
DrAtul Kumar, Chief, Dr R. P. Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, AIIMS, “We are very pleased to partner with Allergan in this noble initiative for eye donation. It is when large corporationsget involved with philanthropy that India, in fact the world, can be a more giving place. Ideas like these help to spread awareness and catalyze people into coming forward to pledge their eyes. We do hope that more and more corporate houses will treat this activity as an example to educate their employees on the benefits that this humanitarian contribution to society. As an organization, we are in a position to help with material to change mindsets about this activity. Eye donation is often not on the list of life goals for many people, simply because they may not be aware of how to do this, or what is needed to do it. We hope that endeavours such as this will help spread the word.”