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Organ Donation Drive in India Led by Youngsters
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Organ Donation Drive in India Led by Youngsters

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Highlights:
  • About 60 percent of India’s organ donation pledges are from youth between 18 and 30 years of age
  • Similarly, 80 percent of the country’s deceased donors are from the 18 to 40 age bracket
  • The youth of India are turning out to be great influencers

The sense of altruism and passion for social action of the Indian youth have become crucial aspects in strengthening the nation's organ donation and transplant program. Almost 60% of the organ donation pledges in the country are from its youth who are in the age group of 18 to 30. About 80 percent of India's deceased donors are also from the 18 to 40 age bracket.

An Intensivist from Fortis Hospital, Dr. Rahul Pandit elucidates this point with an example. Deeyan Udani, a 7-year old, Sydney-based boy who had suffered from brain death in 2016 while on a visit to India, went on to donate his organs. "The child had heard of organ donation in school and expressed his desire to become a donor. His wish must have played a role in convincing his parents," said Dr. Pandit.

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The process of seeking consent for organ donation becomes easier if the family approached has a young member as part of it, the experts say. "My brother and I had heard about organ donation and felt it would be the best thing. We were saving lives," says Vaibhav Sanghvi, a second-year engineering student of D J Sanghavi College in Juhu. Vaibhav and his family had consented to donate his mother's organs after she was declared brain dead in 2016, a month after his 10th-grade results were declared.

Dr. Sunil Shroff of MOHAN Foundation, an NGO that has been organizing awareness drives in schools and colleges, says that the youth are more proactive and keen to adopt new ideas. "Despite the stigma, we see the youth is willing to donate," he commented. The Foundation also launched last year, the 'Angels of Change' a program that aims to spread awareness among the youth. "Teaching just 15 youngsters means the message reaches up to 60 people in a short time," said Dr. Hemal Kanvinde of MOHAN Foundation.
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Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh, Director of the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO), agrees and says, "Wherever the youth are involved, they have an exponential effect. When a youngster convinces his family, everyone listens."

Awareness drives targeting the youth are being organized by the government organizations like the Regional Organ and Tissue Organization (ROTTO), State Organ and Tissue Organization (SOTTO) and the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centres.

Director of the ROTTO - Western Region, Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala said, "When we talk to young people, they are open to the idea. They are willing to pledge."

"The Indian social structure has traditionally been such that whatever elders say is followed. But this is changing as youth are emerging as influencers. They are logical and vocal. For issues needing heightened awareness, youth play a stellar role," said Dr. Ram Narain, CEO of Kokilaben Ambani Hospital.

Source: Medindia

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