In India, the most densely populated state is Uttar Pradesh in the Northern region. This state has a huge base of corneal blind population due to cornea infections, ocular trauma, and (chemical) burns.
Successful cornea transplantation using human post-mortem donated cornea is a treatment modality. In India lack of availability of donated cornea is a public health challenge. Thus, there is great need to reduce the huge demand and supply gap by increasing the donations for supply of cornea to patients.
The Eye Bank at the Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) and the German Society for Tissue Transplantation (DGFG) collaborate in a project to enhance cornea donation and eye bank’s infrastructure in Delhi. The project is supported by the Hospital Partnerships funding programme which is a joint initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation (EKFS) and carried out by the German Society for International Collaboration (GIZ GmbH).
The project aims to increase the number of cornea donations by the SCEH eye bank through establishing two new eye collection centers where donation is coordinated and that are integrated into the existing and well-established eye bank and donation infrastructure of SCEH. Further, data management of the eye bank will be improved by developing a concept for an electronic database system that allows faster monitoring and evaluation of the processes. All activities are carried out according to a defined project plan. The basis of the project is an open-minded analysis and understanding of processes of both partners in relation to the respective legislations plus the environment and conditions in both countries.
Aside from intercultural exchange and personal contacts both partners benefit from mutual on-site visits and exchanging best practices in eye donation and banking as well as sharing expertise in research topics.
This project is a great example on how strong and sustainable relationships can be build across the globe improving the infrastructure for cornea donations to help corneal blind patients.
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