Dr Nita Mukherjee finds a unique community eye bank in Jaipur
It was a seminar organised in 2001 by the Eye Bank Association (Delhi) and LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI, Hyderabad) in Jaipur that triggered the foundation of the Eye Bank Society of Rajasthan (EBSR). The seminar sought to promote eye donation in India to combat the scourge of blindness.
Among those who attended was one of the current members of EBSR, Bhavna Jagwani, who temporarily lost her eyesight and realised how cruel life could be without vision. She persuaded others to contribute to the setting up of ESBR. Unlike most eye banks set up at hospitals, EBSR was unique from inception—it was founded by social activists; there was no doctor involved. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act on 6 February 2002 with 10 founder members. Today, EBSR has 100 members; some 25-30 of them are active volunteers. ML Mehta is currently the president. The objective of EBSR is to promote eye donation in Rajasthan and run a community eye bank. Its success can be gauged from the fact that in its first year, it harvested 76 corneas; in its 10th year, this number has reached 1,000.
What distinguishes EBSR from other eye banks is that it does not depend only on pledging of eyes; it concentrates on hospital cornea retrieval programme as well. Explains Ashok Bhandari, honorary secretary of EBSR: “The process of cornea harvesting has to be completed within six to eight hours of death and takes just 15 minutes so there is no delay in funeral rites. For this, effective coordination is necessary between EBSR’s volunteers and technicians and the medical, nursing and para-medical staff of hospitals. Training volunteers and sustained counselling is crucial.”
Mr Bhandari explains passionately the need to popularise cornea donation. For each person that donates eyes, vision can be restored for two people as only one cornea is grafted on one person. ‘Grief counsellors’ play the delicate and crucial role of speaking to the critically ill patients admitted to hospitals to assuage their fears, and often, irrational anxieties. The six-week training of grief counsellors at LVPEI costs Rs20,000. “Our technicians are well-trained to remove only the cornea, not the complete eyeball; so there is no disfigurement of the body.”
EBSR is a fine blend of volunteerism and professional management. Far from taking any kind of honorarium from the organisation, volunteers not only contribute their time but also don’t take reimbursement of expenses. “More than funding, we need younger volunteers so that outreach can be enhanced. Currently, most of our volunteers are retired people looking to do meaningful social work,” says Shirish Mody, honorary joint secretary EBSR in charge of awareness programmes. While the ‘medical’ part of the work is handled by technicians, the most time- and energy-consuming part of the eye bank is extension and communication work.
EBSR conducts some 50-60 awareness camps in a year—the maximum during the World Cornea Donation fortnight celebrated annually between 25th August and 8th September. Until now, some 500 awareness camps have been held. Volunteers are armed with a CD containing a PowerPoint presentation on all the frequently asked questions by potential eye donors.
EBSR has so far harvested 4,500 corneas; 3,000 have been implanted. All harvested corneas are first tested at the EBSR laboratory for all health parameters; they are used only if found 100% fit. Those not used for implanting are donated to medical colleges for teaching and demonstration purposes. Initially, LVPEI gave the necessary technical guidance and set up the standard operating procedures. So impressed was Orbis International (USA), a partner of EBSR, that it financed the entire world-class equipment for EBSR’s laboratory. Today, EBSR is among the first 10 Indian eye banks to get an affiliation with the SightLife Society of Seattle (USA) which sets world standards in eye donation.
Donations to EBSR are tax-exempt under Section 80G; the organisation welcomes young
Eye Bank Society of Rajasthan
429, Adarsh Nagar, Bees Dukan,
Near Geeta Bhawan,
Phone: +91 41- 2604117,
Email: [email protected]
A close below 5,570 on the Nifty may change the trend
The market closed around 2% higher in the week as the government reiterated its commitment to policy reforms despite the Trinamool Congress (TMC) party’s decision to break away from the ruling UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government. The week also saw the Reserve Bank of India cutting the cash reserve ratio by 25 basis points, a move which would release Rs17,000 crore into the financial system.
The Sensex closed the week at 18,753, up 289 points (1.56%) and the Nifty gained 114 points (2.03%) to 5,691. This makes it the third weekly closing in the positive. The strong uptrend is likely to continue, however, a close below 5,570 on the Nifty may change the trend.
The market closed in the green on Monday on optimism from the government on the reforms front and the RBI’s 25 basis point CRR cut. Profit booking after nine days of gains and a weak trend in the global market led the market lower on Tuesday. Resuming trade after a day’s break, the market settled in the red on Thursday on political concerns at the Centre. The government’s decision to stand by its reforms and support from the Samajwadi Party to the UPA coalition saw the market settling over 2% higher on Friday.
Among the sectoral indices, BSE Realty (up 9%) and BSE Bankex (up 7%) were the top gainers while BSE IT (down 4%) and BSE Healthcare (down 2%) were the main losers.
Jindal Steel & Power (up 15%), BHEL (up 14%), State Bank of India (up 12%), Bharti Airtel (up 9%) and Larsen & Toubro (up 7%) were the key gainers on the Sensex. The major losers were TCS (down 8%), Dr Reddy’s Laboratories (down 6%), Hindustan Unilever, Wipro and Coal India (down 3% each).
The top performers on the Nifty were Punjab National Bank (up 18%), Reliance Infrastructure, Bank of Baroda (up 15% each), Jindal Steel & Power (up 14%) and BHEL (up 13%). TCS (down 8%), Dr Reddy’s (down 6%), Wipro, HUL and Coal India (down 3%) settled at the bottom of the index.
The RBI, in its mid-term monetary policy review on Monday cut cash reserve ratio (CRR), the amount of deposits banks keep with the central bank) by 25 basis points (bps) or 0.25% to 4.5%. The central bank, however, kept other policy rates like repo rate, reverse repo rate and bank rate unchanged at 8%, 7% and 9%, respectively. The cut in CRR is expected to release Rs17,000 crore into the financial system. With additional liquidity by CRR cut, there is a possibility that banks may reduce the interest rate to attract borrowers.
Moving ahead with steps to revive investor sentiment, finance minister P Chidambaram on Friday cut withholding tax on overseas borrowings to 5% from 20% and approved the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS). While the RGESS is aimed at encouraging first time retail investors to invest in stock markets through tax concessions, the cut in withholding tax seeks to lower the cost of foreign borrowings by the Indian companies.
Global markets closed lower in the week amid increasing signs that the global economic slowdown is expanding. A Chinese manufacturing survey pointed to an 11th month of contraction. Japan’s exports fell and Eurozone services and manufacturing output dropped to a 39-month low. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan earlier this week unexpectedly increased its asset-purchase fund to 55 trillion yen ($704 billion) from 45 trillion yen in a bid to boost growth.
A top may take place around mid-week; after which a short-term dip is likely
S&P Nifty close: 5,691.15
Short Term: Up Medium Term: Up Long Term: Down
After a gap up opening, the Nifty drifted lower but did not break the SL (stop loss) level of 5,498 mentioned last week. On the last day of the week the Nifty gained 137 points (+2.03%) to finally close the week on significantly higher volumes, indicating strength. The histogram MACD which is above the median level moved higher indicating that the bulls remain in control even though the short-term oscillators have just ventured into overbought territory.
The rise was broad-based as all the sectoral indices barring pharma ended in the green. The sectoral indices which outperformed were CNX PSU Bank (+14.66%), CNX Realty (+9.05%), CNX Infra (+6.97%), CNX Finance (+5.17%), CNX Media (+3.84%), CNX PSE (+3.21%) and CNX Service (+3.16%) while the underperformers were CNX IT (-3.33%), CNX Pharma (-2.24%), CNX FMCG (-2.04%) and CNX MNC (-0.31%).
Here are some key levels to watch out for this week
•As long as the S&P Nifty stays above 5,648 points (pivot) the bulls will be in control.
•Support levels in declines are pegged at 5,577 and 5,463 points.
•Resistance levels on the upside are pegged at 5,762 and 5,833 points.
The bulls are very much in control even though the oscillators have ventured into overbought territory. What this implies is that one should be very selective from here on and book profits close to the resistance levels mentioned above. Short-term traders should raise their SL to 5,564 points while the positional SL is still far away. Time cycles indicate the likelihood of top taking place around mid-week (or maybe settlement end as this is expiry week) from where at least a short-term dip should take place.
(Vidur Pendharkar works as a consultant technical analyst and chief strategist at www.trend4casting.com.)