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Be A Donor, Be A Hero

  • Massive awareness needed to bridge the gap between organs available and needed to transplant : Dr Hari Prasad
  • More organisations and youth should come forward to pledge organs and usher in a zero waiting list day : Dr Swarnalatha, CEO, Jeevandhan
  • Over 300 CII Young Indians come forward to pledge their organs on the eve of Organ Donation day
  • No other donation can get that thankfulness of a beneficiary, as an organ donation : Dr Gokhale

Hyderabad, 10th August 2017: On the eve of Organ Donation Day (Sunday 13th August, 2017), Apollo Hospitals along with Jeevan Dan and ‘CII Young Indian’ hosted a program Gift An Organ and spare a life, to build awareness amongst the youth about Organ donation and the plight of terminally ill patients awaiting succor through organ transplantation, on Thursday at Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills. Dr Hari Prasad, President, Apollo Hospitals; Dr Swarnalatha, CEO, Jeevandhan; Dr AGK Gokhale, Sr. Consultant Cardio Thoracic Surgeon; Dr Subramanyam, Sr. Consultant – Kidney Transplant and Dr Padmaja Lokireddy, Consultant Hemato Oncologist Apollo Hospitals; speaking on the occasion said, the Organ Donation Program, Jeevan Dan has made an excellent beginning in the state, but needs to take wing to satiate the dire need for organs for millions of patients, virtually on a death bed. Over three hundred youth from ‘CII – Young Indian’ came forward to pledge their organs and handed over the signed Organ donor cards. Some overwhelmed organ recipients felicitated the doctors on the occasion by tying a rakhi as a token of gratitude for saving their lives and wishing their well being.

Chief Guest Dr Swarnalatha said, its heartwarming to see so many youngsters coming forward to pledge their organs. She said, organ donation is the need of the hour, as lot of patients are waiting for organs and are dying on not receiving one. Organ donation awareness should be carried out with a missionary zeal, we work towards conserving trees through Haritha Haram, we conserve water, like wise we have to conserve organs . One brain dead gives life to several on a virtual death bed. Earlier it was only God who could create human life, but now god has given that responsibility to human beings it is you who have to give life by donating organs. Even the Government has realised the importance of organ donation and come up with the program of Jeevandan, which is five years old and have been seeing a gradual increase in the awareness and donation. In the first year we had only 41 donations, last year we had 106 and this year already have 88 donations. The donation rate has increased in the state to 4 per million and look forward for a day when there is no recipient in the waiting list for organ. In these five years we had 373 people donating organs and have seen 600 plus kidney transplantations, 300 plus liver transplantations, 15 heart transplantations, 8 lung transplantations and 7 pancreatic transplantations, put together we have done 1500 plus organ transplantations. Government has been very supportive to Organ transplants, Arogyasri covers all transplants and organ transplantation is accessible to the poorest of the poor. Today, Telangana stands number one in organ donation with a rate of 4 per million by overtaking Tamil Nadu’s 2 organ donations per million population. But there are many patients waiting for organs and for that more and more organisations and youth should come forward to pledge organs and usher in a zero waiting list day.

Dr Hari Prasad speaking on the occasion said, India needs largest number of organs in the world for multiple reasons, as we are the diabetic capital of the world with the largest number of diabetics here, leading to multiple organ damage, despite taking medication. Largest number of renal failures are seen here. But today we have the ability to do transplant even to them, we do the pancreatic, renal, heart transplants. Organ donations has improved but not at the rate at which it should improve, in the last five years it has gone up by five to six times but still a small proportion of what is required and possible in this country. The most common source of organs is road accidents, though the road accidents are increasing by manifold but unfortunately this is not translating into organ donation from brain dead patients in road traffic accidents. At any point of time there are 100000 people waiting for a liver and would die if a transplant is not done. Similarly corneal transplant which started many years ago has still not been able to wipe out blindness in our country. South India is doing extremely well in organ transplantation and Telangana is leading the South Indian states in this drive. Media has played a critical role in increasing the awareness levels but they have a bigger role to help ramp up the donations further. Apollo took initiative in promoting organ donations and transplantations in the country. Best utilising of the available organ becomes paramount, therefore Apollo has specialists with the best outcomes across the country. One lakh Apollo family members across the country will be pledging their organs, Cricketer Gautam Gambhir will be administering the oath to employees on Organ Donation Day, 13th August.

Dr AGK Gokhale said, youth have to take the initiative and any initiative by them will be long lasting and that can bring about change in the country. There are lot of patients waiting for organs. We lose at least one patient every fortnight who is waiting with us, for organ, because of lack of organ. Organisations like Jeevandan have made a huge difference in the last decade, the rate of donation which was 0.05 per million, has been brought to 0.5 per million population, states like Telangana have further improved to a much higher rate of 4 per million. Still there are huge number of patients waiting for organ transplants, but it’s still so difficult to get organs, you should see the desperate state of people in need on death beds. The brain dead can help these, instead of the organs being burnt or buried they can provide a new leash of life to these patients, at least some of them can come out of the grim situation. No other donation can get that thankfulness of a beneficiary, as they get a second life, he said.

About Organ Transplantation

Transplantation of liver, kidney, heart, Lungs, pancreas and intestines has become the standard of care for the treatment of the respective organ failures. The surgical procedure and post-surgery care has been standardized to a great extent and organ transplantation has success rates of 90-95% across all organ types. However, inspite of the good outcomes, transplantation is done in less than 5% of all patients who need it, the biggest hurdle being availability of suitable organs for transplantation.

Organs for transplantation have to come from humans and presently, the majority of transplantation in our country are being done using live donor organs (from people who are alive). One of the kidneys and a part of the liver can be donated by a healthy person. Live donation, in addition to putting the donor at risk of complications (however small the risk may be), also makes transplantation of heart, lung and pancreas impossible as these organs cannot be donated by living persons. Donation after death is the only effective solution to this problem as it can provide all organs for transplantation in addition to safeguarding concerns about live donor safety.

Presently, about 700-800 donations after death happen every year in our country, which is a significant progress from the rare 1-2 per year about a decade ago. This is a welcome trend, however, there is still a huge discrepancy between the number of organs available for transplantation and the people who need them as life-saving procedures. The need of the hour is to educate the people about organ donation and the tremendous difference it can make to the life of patients with organ failure. Organ donation is a GIFT of LIFE, not only for the patient who receives it, but also for his near and dear. The quest for immortality has been a human fantasy since the beginning of civilization. Organ transplantation has been able to achieve this as people can continue to live in the form of their donated organs even after death.