Yesterday, this paper ran a two-page report on a recent seminar about organ donation with a specific focus on skin donation. The report appeared on Organ Donation Day with experts, educationists and doctors speaking about the subject, dispelling myths, quieting fears and generally clearing away the confusion about what is considered an uncomfortable topic even now.
What one learnt is that there has to be much more awareness about organ donation. While there are several well-meaning persons who want to donate, there is a lack of knowledge about how to go about pledging one’s organs. The donation centres need to get more aggressive with their marketing and try to reach out to more people.
It is also important that religious heads are somehow roped in. In India, religion plays a huge part and there are several myths associated with organ donation. For instance, a certain religion forbids donation or one that has found resonance with people who believe that pledging a particular organ in one’s life, means one will be born without it in another life.
Perhaps the biggest stumbling block may be the fact that people who have pledged their organs do not have their wishes honoured post death, thanks to an emotional family. They have to convince the family that it is important to honour these wishes. Then, when the team arrives at home, post death, there are often altercations with the donation team, and the team has to turn away without being able to remove the organs. In this case, the donor card is rendered redundant and the pledge is not honoured.
Statistics show that India has a long way to catch up with the rest of the developed world when it comes to donation. Let the cobwebs and fears fall away and a new zeal to give and let live emerge.