Organ Donation: Does India lack will?

Each year so many lives are lost while waiting for an organ transplant. Not everyone is lucky enough to receive an organ donation as it is still considered a taboo in India due to many religious misbeliefs.

India has a rate of less than 0.2 donors per one million population. An estimated 500,000 people die each year in India because of shortage of organ transplants in gigantic proportions.

Organ donation is the process of removing tissues or organs from a live, or recently dead, person to be used in another. The former is the donor and the latter is the recipient.

There are two ways in which an individual can opt for organ donation and they are either a person Opt In, where the donor gives consent, or Opt Out, where anyone who has not specifically refused is considered a donor. In India the Opt In system is adopted, while many Western countries practice the Opt Out system.

Now, the major question is - what could be the reasons that people in India lack the will to donate organs.

One of the major reasons being touted by experts is the lack of awareness. People need to be educated that organ transplantation from brain-dead patients is a part of medical treatment. It is also observed that many a times even the doctors lack knowledge about it or are either hesitant to talk to patients about donation. It is also observed that they keep patients on ventilators for days and do not declare them brain-dead.

Finding a donor is also an issue in our country. Also, in order to encourage organ donation, there has to be a proper infrastructure to enable prompt harvesting of organs from a brain-dead patient so that the effort does not go in vain and the organ is received by a needy in time.

Another major problem faced in this aspect is that most Indians are superstitious about organ donation and believe that donation of a posthumous body's organs is an evil practice and that an individual’s soul will not rest in peace if the body parts are mutilated. Though it is an emotional issue for families, yet they need to be counselled that organ donation of their loved ones can give a fresh lease of life to so many people.

Awareness among the masses can be spread through campaings, NGOs, and posters in colleges, offices and other places.

When it comes to spreading awareness for a nobel cause our very own Bollywood, which inspires millions of people around the world, also doesn't get left behind. There are so many actors who have pledged organ donation. Mr Perfectionist Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao have pledged to donate organs after their death. Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has pledged to donate her beautiful eyes. There are other famous personalities like R Madhavan, Amitabh Bachchan and Navjot Singh Sidhu who are part of the list.

It is also important for the government to lend support in having a proper database so that people can register for sharing of their organs in an easy and transparent way.

World Organ Donation Day is celebrated each year on August 6.

This World Organ Donation Day change your beliefs and save a life. It's worth it!!

Compiled by: Shruti Saxena

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