“An organ transplant is just like a war. You must have faith in yourself, and have steadfast conviction. You need to develop a strong willpower to overcome it. If you approach it that way, you can easily win the war,” says Komal Pawar, the first woman in Maharashtra, to undergo a simultaneous heart and lung transplant.
Komal, who hails from Satara, Maharashtra, had undergone a heart and lung transplant in May 2017. Komal was lucky; to get a new lease of life, but not everyone is as lucky as she is.
There are about five lakh people in India, who lose their lives every year, due to non-availability of organs. Now, Komal has taken up the challenge to spread awareness about organ donation, so that, maximum number of lives can be saved.
While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Komal says, “When I was undergoing my heart and lung transplant surgery, I saw it as me fighting a war. And, when you face the situation as a war, one tends to build the courage and the conviction to win it.”
In order to spread awareness about organ donation in Maharashtra, Komal started an NGO called ‘Komal New Life Foundation’. Through this organisation, she arranges programs to spread awareness about it.
Pawar further said, “I have been through the whole process. I have witnessed the pain and the agony myself. I know it requires tremendous courage and moral support at all the levels. The word ‘organ transplant’ itself causes mental trauma. So, now, through my foundation, I counsel patients and give them moral support to face their situation,” says Komal.
Although the movement of organ transplant is getting momentum in India, still there are only 0.80 people per million who donate their organs. Even as the numbers of people who are in the waiting list of the organs is growing each day.
Pawar explained, “There are many countries in the world, where organ transplant facilities are unavailable. Hence, people living in these countries are not aware about organ transplant. I have received a number of calls people in Dubai, Pakistan, Iraq, and Bangladesh inquiring about the process of organ transplant. Social media also plays a very important role in generating awareness.”
Post-operative care in organ transplantation plays a very important role. But, many people tend to overlook it, and then face the consequences. Therefore, Komal has now begun to spread awareness about post-operative care and management, as well.
Pawar added, “Diet, medicines, the importance of wearing the mask, are a few basic but very crucial things. I explain people about the importance of following the routine. People are not aware of this aspect, which in turn, plays a very pivotal role in their life.”
According to Komal, there is not much awareness about organ transplant in rural areas. And this is why her organisation arranges competitions to raise awareness about organ donation in schools and colleges in rural areas.