‘Make organ donation pledges legal,’ urges activist

Rajesh Shetty, founder of Rebirth, a Pune based non-government organisation (NGO), which works in the field of organ donation, suggests that when Maharashtra has achieved a lot in terms of creating awareness for organ donation, other parts of country are still lagging behind

‘Make organ donation pledges legal,’ urges activist

Q. You have been working since 2014. How do you see the difference in the field of organ donation?

A. When I started work in 2014, there were only eight organ donations that happened in Pune. While last year, the city witnessed 56 organ donations. In 2016, Pune topped in total number of organ donation in Maharashtra and was ranked second in India. We have achieved a lot in creating awareness. Now at least five out of ten know what organ donation is.

Q. What were the challenges in the early days?

A. People were unaware about organ donation and so we launched helpline number. The biggest challenge was making people aware about what is organ donation.

Q. Do you get volunteers easily volunteers?

A. Now, I have a team of 40 people who are working on nine to ten projects. When more and more awareness is created more people want to join for the cause.

Organ Donation-Month

Q. What do you see as challenges for future?

A. The challenge is to enrol more hospitals who can carry out organ transplant procedure. There is lot of scope in other districts where the patient is declared brain-dead, but due to lack of awareness and infrastructural facilities, organ retrieval does not happen. Also, family doctors should be made aware as people consult their family doctors before giving consent and not all doctors are aware about organ donation completely.

Q. As a NGO representative do you have any demands for government?

A. The total number of counsellors should be increased in the country. Also pledge forms do not have any legal validity now. If legal validity is given and data of those who have filled pledge form is stored with government that will boost the total number of organ donation in the country.