Under the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for Life Saving Treatments, five thousand and nine hundred operations were done through 28 empanelled hospitals and 4, 95,000 families given cards to avail benefits under the scheme in the district, said C. Kamaraj, District Collector.

Participating in the silver jubilee celebration of National Eye Donation Fortnight at Aravind Eye Hospital here on Wednesday, Mr. Kamaraj said that special camps would be organised to make the scheme reach the poor. National Eye Donation Fortnight was held here between August 25 and September 8.

He appreciated the efforts of Aravind Eye hospital for its contribution to improve the health care in the State.

The Collector later felicitated Narayanasamy of Sivakasi and the father of an eight-year-old child Gayathri who died in an accident and Balakrishnan, from Theni, father of 10-year-old Shella Benny who died of neurological disorder whose eyes were received by the hospital.

Mr. Kamaraj asked the empanelled hospitals to conduct more awareness camps and especially in rural areas and make sure that more number of the less privileged sections avail the benefits of the scheme.

P. Namperumalsamy, former Chairman Aravind Eye Care System, said that the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for Life Saving Treatments was started in July 2009 and all Aravind Hospital branches in Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Puducherry are among the empanelled hospitals.

A total of 1,200 patients availed various treatments and got benefited under the scheme in Madurai alone and in all branches 3,180 patients' availed treatment under the scheme. He thanked the district administration for the scheme.

M. Srinivasan, Chief Medical Officer, said that it was in 1998 the Aravind Eye Bank was started in Madurai and till now 16,000 eyes had been received as donations. He appreciated the contributions of National Society for the Prevention of Blindness and the District Associations.

Twenty lakh people are affected with blindness in India and for every year we need one lakh eyes but only thirty to forty thousand eyes were received by eye banks across the country.

Even among the donors it is the southern states which contributed more with 45 per cent eyes donated and in particular Tami Nadu stands first with 8,000 eyes. If we concentrate fully on awareness programmes, of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness which has taken an initiative to increase the number of eye banks, we could reach the target by 2020. He also said that so far eighty-two cornea replacement surgeries were done under the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for Life Saving Treatments.

Usha Kim delivered the welcome address and Jeena Mascarenhas proposed a vote of thanks.

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