World Organ Donation Day – Pledge Your Organs and Save Lives

World Organ Donation Day – Pledge Your Organs and Save Lives

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Highlights:
  • Organ Donation Day has been observed on 13th of August every year since 2009 in India
  • Availability of donors continues to remain a serious challenge and around 5 lakh people in the country die every year owing to unavailability of organs
  • World Organ Donation Day aims to create awareness about this situation and motivate people to pledge their organs
  • This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Transplantation Law in India
World Organ Donation Day is observed every year on 13th August and aims to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation in saving lives. Pledge to donate your organs and save lives on this Organ Donation day.
World Organ Donation Day – Pledge Your Organs and Save Lives

A leading NGO in the field of organ donation in India - MOHAN Foundation first started celebrating Organ Donation week in the year 2009 that started at the end of the first week of August and ended with organ donation day. A few years later a leading newspaper Times of India started this campaign at the same time and for the last 8 years this now has become a regular feature in India. This year 13th of August has been observed as the World Organ Donation Day.

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Every year hospitals, educational institutions, corporate organizations, non-profits and media join in this celebration and help promote the cause using various platforms.

Organ Donation and Transplantation - An Overview

Organ Transplantation is the choice of treatment for irreversible organ failure and has been the lifesaver for millions around the world. An organ donor could save up to 8 lives and enhance the lives of more than 100 people through tissue donation.

The advancements in the field have highly improved patient survival rates and graft quality following transplantation. However, this has also led many people to opt for a transplant, thereby, increasing the demand for organs, while the supply is inadequate.

For the transplantation program to be successful of a nation, it's people should be aware of organ donation and they should also be willing to donate organs and discuss it with their families. Countries should also have access and infrastructure issues sorted and have stringent laws in place.

Organ Donation Day aims to emphasize these points and help spread the message.

Indian Scenario

Organ donation rates in India have witnessed almost a four-fold increase from 2012 to 2017. Despite this, the deceased organ donations rate of the country stands at less than 0.8 pmp (per million population), whereas some of the developed countries like Spain (46.9), US (31.96) and UK (23.05) are way ahead.

At the moment, only 13 of 36 Indian states and union territories are doing deceased donations. Besides, only five or six states of these have in place an effective system for organ donation and allocation. Therefore, only the figures from these few states represent the entire nation's donation rates. The donation rates could go up almost ten times if the deceased donation program were to become pan-Indian.

Transplantation of Human Organs Act - Celebrating 25 years

The year 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the historical Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA) that was passed in 1994 in the Indian Parliament and was subsequently amended in 2011 and 2014.

The law was passed with the objective of recognizing brain death as a form of death to expand the organ donor pool and prevent organ commerce in the country.

Though the law proved ineffective in fulfilling is objectives in its initial years, the amendments and innovative government orders from the state of Tamil Nadu, for example, boosted the growth of the deceased donation program in the country. However, certain areas of the law still need tweaking and clarity in order for the stakeholders to use it with ease and thereby, improve the numbers.

Uniform guidelines for brain stem death testing, legalizing donor pledge forms, defining postmortem procedures in organ donation cases, are some of the areas that may require amendments.

Organ Donation Day - What can we do?

Here are few ways to improve organ donation rates:
  • Spread the message of organ donation far and wide
  • Create awareness about the shortage of life-saving organs and the importance of organ donation
  • Educate the masses about brain death and transplant law
  • Help people overcome fears and bust the myths around the subject
  • Highlight every deceased donation that happens in the country and honor the donors and their families
  • Optimally use social media platforms to engage in discussions on the subject
  • Include a module on organ donation in the syllabus for school and college students of all streams
Most of the donations in our country come from ordinary people making extraordinary decisions in the most difficult of times. In addition to this, the policies, effective public-private partnerships and strong will of certain states have made this possible. Lack of awareness, access, infrastructure and affordability are some areas where challenges continue to remain and need attention.

Therefore, on this Organ Donation Day, let's pledge to donate our organs and save millions of lives today

References :
  1. Shroff S, Navin S, The Giving Indian. Indian Transplant Newsletter. 2019. 16 (56). 1 - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721606/)


Source: Medindia

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