Time to change: Donate organs

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Feb 2018 09:36:18

“Course curriculum in colleges and universities must mandatorily include a chapter on the issue of ‘Organ Donation’ so that the youth know of it early on and mentally prepare accordingly, if not anything, at least to spread the right word in society,” feels Anshuman Bhargava State Editor of MP Editions of The Hitavada

Organ donation is picking up in the country but the pace is slow and demand for organs is on a continual rise. The demand-supply mismatch is getting starker by the day. Surprisingly, even today not many people are aware of the benefits of organ donation and the modalities involved. 

Many are still reluctant to pledge a donation. In a survey conducted recently by The Hitavada at Bhopal and carried under the news report “Grim Fact: Majority of Bhopal Youth Unaware of Organ Donation”, it was learnt that in a city like Madhya Pradesh state capital, which has a population of about 2 million people, we get a measly 67 organs every year, though there are no less than 3,000 people getting brain dead in the city before dying.

And more shockingly the survey also revealed that the youth of the city were largely unaware of the noble act and the ways to go about it. Doctors say that apart from lack of awareness programmes to inform and encourage people to donate their organs after death, there were other reasons too which were responsible for the poor number of donors.
One was identifying a brain-dead patient. An estimated around 1.4 lakh people in the country get brain dead due to accidents, but few get identified. Doctors need to learn the identification of brain-dead bodies in time. Orthodoxy and religious beliefs of Indian families also prove a hurdle for the rise in numbers of organ donors.

Counselling and awareness programmes are a must to improve the figures but not much of them are in place in our country yet. It is just picking up and we won’t be wrong to say that the trend and practice of organ donation are still in a nascent stage in the country. In more evolved and developed societies more and more people are pledging and supporting organ donation. Religious and traditional taboos associated with giving away body parts are present in every culture and society in some form or the other. It is only through better education, better awareness and counselling that have over the years made organ donation a celebrated social work in such societies.

No doubt, we too are making progress and the situation is way better than what it was said, five or six years back. Even smaller cities are doing well and the act is not limited to metros. In fact, Indore over the last few years has stood out in creating a number of green corridors as part of organ donation initiatives by the kin of the dead.
Timeliness is crucial in making a donation bid successful, and through exemplary coordination and liaising, Indore has repeatedly made donations successful. But, again, given the ever rising need for organs, this is still a drop in the ocean.
Organ donation needs to be taken up like a national campaign so that not only more and more people come to know about it but also feel encouraged and uninhibited in going for it.

The mental block has to be removed and that can be done by the active participation of doctors, NGOs, psychologists and counsellors, and better still, if conducted under a coordinated national scheme where all the stakeholders join hands to work towards this noble cause. The Governments also need to be supportive and they must act to create a conducive atmosphere to promote and streamline the process of organ donation.

The political class has a hold and influence over the people and their word of mouth can publicise the need of organ donation and the nobility associated with it, fast and wide. The dead doesn’t lose anything but one dead person can live on by giving life to several people. Lakhs of people die every day in freak mishaps and stray incidents. We have the dubious distinction of accident fatalities, notching the top place on the global list of countries with most accident deaths. Many people die for the want of an organ and timely medical intervention. If a part of the liver from a dying donor or his kidneys could be transplanted to an ailing person or a working heart could be imported into someone whose heart is failing, several young and precious lives can live to see another day. Through them, the deceased person lives in immortality and serves humanity like none other can do. India badly needs organs and we have no other option but to encourage people by counselling and promotional activities.

Course curriculum in colleges and universities must mandatorily include a chapter on the issue of ‘Organ Donation’ so that the youth know of it early on and mentally prepare accordingly, if not anything, at least to spread the right word in society. India is a country of the youth and the youth are a big force in their direction of thought decides the direction of thought of society and the country. If the youth are progressive and embracing of new ideas, society progresses. Apart, doctors and hospitals too need to be sensitised and trained to handle the possibilities of organ donation whenever they arise.They must counsel and urge the kin of every dead or dying patient under their care to go for the noble cause.Traffic cops too need to be trained in the cities to be prepared for any such occasion where organ transportation might be needed on short notice.

As has been said, any successful donation process needs lots of express planning, timing, coordination and synchronisation of several aspects for which each responsible person involved in it should be trained, alert and efficient. Any slip by any individual can derail the whole exercise and lead to the loss of several lives which could be saved. The stakeholders must be subject to occasional mock drills to check their readiness so that in an emergency situation, like every organ donation process has to be, nothing goes wrong and everything happens smoothly. It needs practice and experience to manage the show successfully and the stakeholders must work in unison to achieve that perfection.

At the end of the day, we must remember that every life is precious and needs to be saved. We must go all out with whatever wherewithal we have to save lives. Just as unfortunate as death is in any family, so much is it a matter of pride and happiness to see someone live a new life through the last offerings of the one who is gone.