Organizations from Germany and Australia enable ten African experts to attend the conference
In order to have experts also from African countries on site at the exchange meeting and to enable a personal exchange on the topic of tissue donation, financial support was necessary. Among the sponsors supporting the initiative of DGFG, WUTBA and GAEBA are the Cornea Help association, the German Relief Fund for the Blind (DBHW), Lions Club Wedemark, Foundation of the German Lions and Lions Clubs International, Geuder AG, KL medical GmbH, the Eye Bank Association of Australia and New Zealand (EBAANZ) and the Global Alliance of Eye Bank Associations (GAEBA) itself. Together, they are funding the conference fees, airfare, and hotel costs for the ten Africans through travel grants. We would like to take this opportunity to express our special thanks to all our sponsors.
Background of the exchange meeting to promote tissue donation in Africa
The cornea is our window to the world. If it is injured by thorns, fire or chemical burns or if a corneal disease is present, people are at risk of going blind. The only way out is a corneal transplant – a therapy that is almost impossible to achieve for many Africans nowadays. While other diseases can be treated with the help of simpler therapies, medications or glasses, the situation with an injured cornea is much more complex. The reason: You need a tissue transplant, donated from a deceased. Furthermore, a functioning system of collection centers, tissue banks as well as trained personnel for corneal donation, preparation of the transplant as well as surgery, pre- and post-operative care of the patients in the country is needed.
Behind every transplant are people who have agreed to donate tissue after death: a human good that is finite. While in countries like the USA or Germany patients can be provided with a corneal transplant after a certain waiting period, people in Africa without an independent local donation program may wait a lifetime. The result: exclusion, unemployment, lack of education and future prospects.