Punjab in the Forefront for Raising Awareness About Organ Donation

by Rajashri on Oct 31 2008 4:25 PM

Even though organ donation is an old procedure, not many people are aware of it. Punjab has recently made a beginning in spreading awareness about organ donation and raising health issues related to organ transplants.

Through cadaver donation, different organs like heart and parts of lungs and liver can be transplanted to eight patients and can also benefit 50 others in various ways. But it is not practiced in India.

At the 19th annual conference of Indian Society of Organ Transplantation in Ludhiana, experts expressed their opinions on legal, ethical and social issues in organ transplantation.he speakers from executive, legislative and judiciary fields, who participated in the conference, agreed to make presumed consent of the clinically dead person into a law so that their organs can be used to save the lives of others.

Every year, up to 1,50,000 people need kidney transplants but only 5,000 undergo a transplant because of lack of organ donation in India.

"The conference will help in spreading the message among masses about the need for organ donation. Doctors will also get the latest updates about the drugs, prevention of organ rejection and about various techniques of organ transplantation. People will also get the message that there is a shortage of organs and that there is a need for awareness programs," said Dr. Baldev Singh Aulakh, chief organisor of the organ transplantation seminar.

With three eye donation banks having been proposed in the state, Punjab is tackling the issue of organ transplantation seriously.

In addition, the government also plans to set up 75 eye donation centers at the subdivision level. Earlier, there was not even a single eye donation bank in the entire state.

But, rising awareness about organ donation is the buzzword now, non-government organizations (NGOs), social workers and the government is organizing awareness camps in rural as well as urban areas.

People are now being urged to discard superstitions and change their attitudes towards organ donation as well as eye donation and come forward to make it a family tradition.

"Organ shortage is a worldwide problem. Demand is not as per the supply. In developed countries deceased organ donation is a common phenomenon. In US 80 per cent of transplantation is done from deceased donors whereas in developing nations like India, it is just 0.1 per cent," said Dr. Baldev Singh.

"Study has proved that it helps to have separate teams to guide the kins of brain dead to donate the organ. The team of professional counselors talks to doctors and people in the process of organ donation. In Spain and some of the states of USA this is very successful," said a professor of medicine, University of Minnesota, USA.

Experts believe 70 percent of the organ donations in the UK are through cadaver donations, and through raising awareness it can be practiced in India as well. By Karan Kapoor