How we can make a gift of life

Yesterday, the city marked Maharashtra Organ Donation Day. It is a day that is not on everybody’s radar, and yet, there were sporadic initiatives around the city to debunk the myths surrounding organ donation. There was also a smattering of celebrities who pledged their organs. Every effort is worthy of applause, given how important this cause is and the fact that the message needs continual reinforcement.

There are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding organ donation that it needs great efforts to put the truth in front of people, and, most importantly, change mindsets.

Experts, educationists and doctors have to speak out more about the subject, dispelling myths, quieting fears and generally clearing away the confusion about what is considered an uncomfortable topic even now.

While there are several well-meaning persons who want to pledge their organs, there is a lack of knowledge about how to go about it. Donation centres need to get more aggressive with their marketing and try to reach out to more people.

It is also important that one gets not celebrities to endorse donation, but religious figures and heads are roped in as well. In India, religion plays a huge part and there are several misconceptions proving to be roadblocks when it comes to organ donation. One that has found resonance with people is that pledging a particular organ in one’s life, means one will be born without it in the next.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block may be the fact that people who have pledged their organs do not have their wishes honoured post their death, thanks to an emotional family, which then refuses to give the organs.

As all these factors prove, this is a multi-pronged battle to be fought on several fronts awareness and action being key. Recent Mumbai figures of kidney donation give reason for optimism. Yet, every milestone is an indication about just how long and arduous this journey is. Let us make the path smoother for all involved in every way we can.

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