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The union health minister presided over the Donor Felicitation Ceremony organised by Organ Retrieval Banking Organization (ORBO) at AIIMS in New Delhi on Wednesday, November 13.

Dr Harsh Vardhan along with Shri Kiren Rijiju and Mary Kom felicitated families of 38 multi-organ donors, 5 whole-body donors who donated whole bodies for medical education, and 8 tissue donors who donated multiple tissues after cardiac death.

“The families of organ donors are bravehearts who take such decisions at a time which is so emotionally painful for them as well as their near and dear ones. My heartfelt salutations to them”, he stated this in the presence of  Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Sports and Youth, Minority Affairs, Mary Kom, Rajya Sabha MP and popular singer Mohit Chauhan.

Organ/transplant recipients were also present during the ceremony and expressed their deep gratitude to the families of the organ donors.

Calling the felicitation event as one which touched hearts, the Union Health Minister stated: “I don’t remember having attended any function which has touched my heart so much.”

He applauded the grit and courage of the families and called the donors great souls who continue to live with us.

“Through their selfless acts, these people have done what many Governments can’t do alone,” he further stated.

These people who have donated organs of their family members are ones who have contributed in a seminal manner to the society. They have fulfilled their social responsibility, and inspired millions of us to opt for organ donation, Dr Harsh Vardhan added.

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The Union Health Minister further said, “One donor can save the life of 7-8 patients and can enhance the quality of life of 40-50 patients.”

He suggested that we need to motivate individuals, families and organisations to pledge to donate organs after death, and to spread awareness about the importance of organ donation.

“There is lack of awareness, myths and fear in peoples’ mind about organ and tissue donation,” he stated.

As Dr Harsh Vardhan appreciated the activities of ORBO, he said, “One cornea donor can give sight to up to four people using advanced technology. The skin tissue is used to help burn victims. Bones donated are used for bones damaged by tumours, traumas and infections. This would save limbs from being amputated”.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also narrated the story of the young organ donor Surabhi who gave her organs to many recipients in 2014. To honour her deed, ORBO put up a plaque in her memory, he noted.

Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Sports and Youth, Minority Affairssaid that while many people think about organ donation, few have been able to do it. “It’s an act through which a person lives on even after his/her death” he added while expressing his deep respects for the families of the donors. He underlined the importance of creating wide awareness about the issue, so that it becomes a regular practice in our country.

Mary Kom, MP, Rajya Sabha and Indian Olympic Boxer stated that “I salute the brave-hearts and their families who have donated their organs to give life to others. They have made our world and our lives better through their priceless sacrifice.”

She encouraged people to come forward for organ donation. She added that it had inspired her to do something in the field. “I feel that I can live on with organ donation,” she stated.

ORBO is the nodal facility at AIIMS facilitating the entire process of cadaver organ and tissue transplantation, from procurement till transplantation in the recipient. ORBO has also been proactive in creating awareness and undertaking training in the field of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. In addition to organ donation from brain-dead donors, ORBO also coordinates tissue donation from cardiac arrest donors.

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