Skin donation is the need of the hour

The recent Kalbadevi fire at the Gokul Niwas building, where two firemen lost their lives and at least two others are grievously injured, has put the spotlight on a number of factors.

The incident is a clear warning that are several such buildings that are potential fire and death traps for people, and that the city is not prepared to handle such crises. But even after the rescue ops came to a close, the battle to save lives is on, with survivors now in urgent need of burn treatment and skin grafts.

The state government must make an effort to up the number of affordable and specialised burns care centres, we need much more facilities for burn patients whose traumatised families struggle with medical costs and lack of specialised care. Not only does the quality of care need to go up, but even the staff’s training to deal with the patients. The aftermath of the incident is especially challenging for the survivors, with the psychological toll and the below par care standards.

These issues are further compounded by a severe lack of graft skin for the victims as there is not enough donation. There has to be much more awareness about skin donation. While there are several well-meaning persons who want to donate, there is a lack of knowledge about how to go about it.

It is also important that one gets not just film stars and other celebrities to endorse donation, but religious figures are roped in as well. In India, religion plays a huge role, and there are several myths associated with skin and organ donation. Some might be apprehensive under the impression that their religion forbids pledging organs, while others believe that pledging a particular organ in one’s life, means they will be born without it in another life.

More clarity and awareness about skin donation plus greater expertise and facilities in treatment for burns patients are two vital factors in a country where not just skin, but organ donation itself is still in the nascent stage.

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