Friday, 22 Mar 2019

Pledge organs & you’ll make your life count


Since last 2 years, we are working under the banner of Jeevandaan Foundation. Very happy to note that big names of the societies are now interested in awareness about the

‘Pledge organs & you’ll make your life count’

Tina Ambani, Chairperson Of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Underlines Need For Awareness

  • The Times of India (New Delhi edition)
  • 2 Aug 2016
  • People should know that almost everyone can be an organ donor, during life and death, irrespective of age and disease... We need to make people realize that all major religions support organ and tissue donation

Mumbai: The waiting list for kidneys in Mumbai stands at 3,100, a testimony of the despair every organ-failure patient must feel when told a transplant is the only hope. Based on an extrapolation of the current donation rates, less than 10% of this long list will manage to get a donation, that too, from a living relative; cadaver donation is still a fraction of the live donations(Mumbai only had 42 cadaver donations last year). Moreover, the incidence of failure of organ – be it kidney, liver or heart – is increasing across India.

It is this inequation that Tina Ambani, chairperson of the Andheribased Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, has been working to iron out. “In July, my hospital’s doctors were able to discharge our heart transplant patient on the 11th day after surgery. I met the patient and the feeling you get when someone has been given another shot at life, is something words can- not describe,” Ambani told TOI.

It is to create many more such moments in various patients’ lives that she wants to end the “acute lack of awareness about organ donation, the concept of brain death and the process of organ transplantation in our country”. She is convinced that “information is the key to catalysing change”, and her hospital is collaborating with TOI for the third consecutive year to observe the Organ Donation Week that aims to create awareness about the need to pledge organs.

The idea is to debunk myths surrounding organ donation —with respect to both cadaver and living donations. “People should know almost everyone can be an organ donor, during life and death, irrespective of age and disease (only the presence of active cancer, active HIV or active infection would rule out donation),” said Ambani. She wants to rope in various elements of society — from healthcare providers, religious leaders, government and citizens at large. She believes it would help if schools teach modules on organ transplants and their benefits. “We need to make people realise all major religions support organ and tissue donation,” said Ambani.

The last two campaigns raised the profile of organ donation, but there is still a long way to go. “Due to the effect of efforts such as the Organ Donation Week, we’re starting to see a change in the generosity of the human heart. Media reports have evoked tremendous response and generated much positivity and generosity by the people who have started coming forth for more and more donation pledges,” she said. In 2015, Kokilaben Hospital contributed the highest cadaver donors in Mumbai — eight out of 42. This year, Mumbai has already managed 109 cadaveric transplants, which shows the campaign has managed to reach the right audience and initiate the process of change.

“Until the cadaver program picks up pace, it will be live donations that can save a significant number of lives,” she said.

The campaign will hence also seek to dispel fears about live donations. “We also need to educate on facts that the human body is a miracle machine - it has given us the ability to give to our fellow beings without harming ourselves. We need to create awareness about facts such as a normal, healthy liver can regenerate in just three weeks. Or that a human being can go on for their entire life with just one kidney,” said Ambani.

She hopes this campaign will touch the lives of people across India, and from all walks of life. “I hope we manage to create enough awareness to start a fresh dialogue on the need for organ transplants and the various ways we can fill this gap. Organ donation gives meaning and purpose to our lives — it is a testament that we do not just live for ourselves; we are part of a greater force of humanity. At KDAH, we say, ‘Every Life Matters.’ When you sign up as an organ donor, you make yours count. Indeed, we are all born with the ability to change someone's life. Let’s not waste it,” she added.

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