‘Make organ donation a movement of the people,’ Dr Harsh Vardhan urges health ministers

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has urged all the concerned health ministers of states and union territories to spread awareness among the masses in regards to organ donation

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One single organ and tissue donor can save or improve the lives of more than eight people, helping to restore eyesight, damaged tissues or vital functions. Organ transplantation gives thousands of children and adults each year a renewed chance at living full and active lives.

On the second day of the 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHFW), Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, said, “I have personally requested health ministers of all the states, to promote and spread awareness of Organ Donation among masses. I have urged them to take a personal interest in this initiative, and make this a people’s movement.”

Dr Harsh Vardhan states that the health ministers of the state should personally look into this an ensure that organ donation becomes a movement with public participation.

If we currently look at the organ donation awareness in India it is improving gradually. People are slowly coming forward to donate organs.

But there are still misconceptions in the mind of the people and misrepresentations on the idea of organ donation. This prevents people from coming forward to donate organs. Awareness needs to reach the grassroots level

As per the health ministry reply in the Parliament, in 2018, only 0.8 per million people opting to donate organs, and on the other hand, the waiting list of people who are in dire need of organs is rapidly increasing.

The health ministry has also accepted that there is a steep imbalance between the demand and the supply of organs in India.

For example, we need 2 lakh kidneys every year for the transplant, but only 8,000 are available. Same is the case with heart transplants. While the demand of the heart has reached 30,000 the availability is only 200.

According to a written reply by the health ministry in the Rajya Sabha, 16.5 lakh people have pledged to donate their organs in 2018.

Komal Pawar a heart and lung recipient has started Komal New Life Foundation to spread awareness with regards to organ donation.

Komal Pawar, who is an organ recipient herself, said, “Every citizen must come forward to and join the organ donation movement. If the politicians join this movement, the message will spread across their followers. And, more people can connect to this campaign.”

“I am an Organ recipient myselves. Due to someone sacrifice I am alive today. I have devoted my entire life for this cause. And urge people to join this movement in large numbers.”

Organ donation is the process of donating organs or biological tissue to a living recipient, who needs a transplant. There is a huge shortage of donated organs in India, which results in a large number of deaths among patients as they do not receive an organ in time.

Almost anyone, regardless of age, race or gender, can become an organ and tissue donor.

Commenting on Dr Harsh Vardhan’s directive to state health ministers, Reena Raju, a double heart recipient, said, “It’s a great step taken by our Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. We need awareness on organ donation in every State. In my 13 years of being a patient, I’ve seen infants, kids, young adults to people over 50 suffering from end-stage organ failure.”

She added, “The health ministers of every state have the power to make a huge difference to promote and support organ donation. Lead by example by choosing to become organ donors.”

Raju further said, “Affordable transplants and post-transplant care needs equal importance and support. The purpose of organ donation is lost if life post-transplant is not sustained. A holistic approach is needed to make organ transplantation a viable option for patients in India. A two time heart recipient, I have dedicated my life to the cause since my 1st Heart Transplant in 2009.  I have offered my services before and am willing to be of any help/ part of initiatives taken by the MoHFW for the cause.”