Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, in association with Eye Bank Association of India and SAKSHAMA conducted an awareness program during the eye donation fortnight on August 28, 2021. While addressing the attendees virtually, Prof. Namrata Sharma of RP Centre AIIMS, New Delhi, the secretary of both All India Ophthalmology Society as well as Eye Bank Association of India, said that corneal blindness has become the second most common cause of blindness in India after Cataract. She also emphasized the fact that corneal donation and transplant are lagging behind in numbers and the COVID-19 pandemic reduced the number of corneal retrievals by half of what was done in the previous years.
During the inaugural address, Kerala Governor Arif Mohamed Khan congratulated Amrita Hospital for taking leadership in eye donation activities. He further added that in order to give vision to three million corneal blind people in India and to make them productive and their families hopeful, we need to increase the number of corneal transplantations from the current 25000 to 1.5 lakh cases per year. Also, an increase in the number of eye donations correspondingly will help achieve this goal.
The Kerala Governor even emphasized the importance of creating awareness among the youth about eye donation and urged medical students and health professionals to take it forward. He encouraged the private hospitals of Kerala which take care of 60% of the healthcare needs of the state to come up with corporate social responsibility in the management of corneal blind people.
A public awareness video on eye donation created by Amrita Hospital was also released during the event. While addressing the attendees, Swami Poornamritandapuri said that the body after death goes to the basic elements and if part of it can help two blinds regain vision, there is no better humane deed.
Dr. Prem Nair (Medical Director, Amrita Hospital, Kochi) explained various steps initiated by Amrita Hospitals to improve the corneal blindness scenario. As a message aiming to create awareness, actor Mohanlal urged people to embrace eye donation so that the blind may see it. Other attendees of the program include Maj. Gen. Dr. J.K.S. Parihar (President of Eye Bank Association of India) and Dr. Santhosh (National Convenor of Cornea Andhatha Mukt Abhayan).
Aiming to provide teleconsultation to visually challenged people using technology, the Amrita Kiranam program was inaugurated by R. Ramachandran (State President of Sakshama. Ramakrishnan, who is blind, has dedicated his life to create awareness about the importance of eye donation.
Amrita Hospital, Kochi secured Gold Status in World Stroke Organization (WSO) Angels awards Quarter 1 (Q1) 2021 for the best management of brain stroke patients.
Dr.Vinayan K.P., Professor and Head of the Department of Paediatric Neurology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, received the Asia-Oceania Outstanding Achievement Award from the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) for his contributions to the epilepsy care in children.
This is the highest recognition of the organization in the Asia-Oceania region, awarded to eminent persons who have provided significant contributions to healthcare and research in the field of epileptology. Due to the pandemic restrictions, the award was presented in a virtual ceremony during the Asia-Oceania Epilepsy Congress.
Dr. Vinayan has developed a state of the art services for children with epilepsy and related neurological disorders at Amrita. As the secretary of the Indian Epilepsy Association, Kochi, he was instrumental in the implementation of 'Helping Hands' programme, a financial support scheme for flood-affected persons with epilepsy in 2018 and also developing a helpline for epilepsy patients during the current COVID restrictions.
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has emerged in the Top 100 universities in the world in the just-released Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. Holding 81st rank, Amrita is the only university from India to appear in the prestigious top 100 list.
THE’s Impact Rankings rate universities against the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are global goals adopted by all UN member nations to improve life for all people in the world and protect the planet. They attempt to document evidence of the impact that universities have upon the society, in addition to their research and teaching performance.
Notably, Amrita has been ranked No. 5 in the world for furthering SDG4 (Quality Education) and No. 8 for SDG5 (Gender Equality). The varsity was also ranked 37th for SDG3 (Good Health & Well-Being); 52nd for SD6 (Clean Water & Sanitation); and between 101-200 for SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure) as well as SDG17 (Partnership for The Goals).
The case of a newborn affected by the mother's COVID infection: Amrita School of Medicine Professors publish a finding on COVID-19 causing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, in The Lancet - a top medical journal.
Connecting what happened to a baby born from a mother who had COVID, Amrita School of Medicine Professors recently published a scientific study on a life-threatening condition involving a newborn as a consequence of its mother's COVID infection. This unique case report was recently published in the leading medical journal, The Lancet, and has attracted attention from medical experts across the world.
A 24-days old baby was presented to the Pediatric Cardiology unit at Amrita Hospital, Kochi, during the last week of December 2020. The baby girl was intensely sick, and the heart was hardly contracting- at barely 10% pumping efficiency. She had been referred with a suspicion of a severe birth defect of the heart. But, when doctors at Amrita did the Echocardiogram, they found that the heart did not have any structural birth defects, yet the heart was functioning very poorly. The baby was soon put on the ventilator and was shifted into the Pediatric Cardiac ICU. When the blood reports came in the next couple of hours, they showed that not just the heart, but the liver and kidneys were badly affected too. The doctors were puzzled since they could not identify the reason as to why the baby was so ill. Most of the common causes of such illness were being ruled out, one-by-one.
Professor of Pediatric Cardiology, Dr. Mahesh Kappanayil, took the lead in evaluating and managing the patient along with the team of pediatric cardiac intensive care specialists. It was then that the doctors discovered that the baby’s mother had COVID when she was about 31 weeks pregnant. This made the doctors assess a possible connection between the mother’s past COVID infection and the baby’s current illness. ‘Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children ‘or MIS-C is a new disease that has been discovered and described in the past few months where children develop complications after few weeks of being exposed to COVID-19, but this had never been described to occur in newborn babies.
Amrita School of Medicine Professor, Dr. Suma Balan, Pediatric Rheumatologist, then brought her considerable expertise in solving this difficult medical puzzle. Even as the child’s condition was deteriorating, the next set of test results seemed to confirm that the baby had a severe inflammatory condition, possibly related to exposure to COVID-19 during the pregnancy. The baby was immediately started on specific medicines that were effective. The prompt diagnosis and initiation of precise treatment resulted in stabilisation of the baby’s condition, and the beginning of steady improvement. The heart, liver and kidney functions began to improve and the baby could be taken off the #ventilator after about 10 days. The baby’s life could be saved, and she was finally discharged from the hospital after nearly one month of hospitalisation.
Managing such a difficult case required ingenuity, quick thinking and the combined efforts of a number of specialists from different disciplines - Pediatric Cardiology, Rheumatology, Intensive Care, Dermatology, Microbiology and many others, in addition to the meticulous care provided by nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff. The authors acknowledged that the hospital administration provided all necessary support as well. Dr. Atul Gupta, a renowned authority on Pediatric Respiratory Medicine at King’s College, London, who published the first case of a newborn infected with COVID-19 after birth, provided valuable inputs to the Amrita team.
This case highlights the need to raise awareness about protecting pregnant women and children from COVID-19. Safety studies for COVID vaccines in pregnancy are currently underway.