Leave a legacy of life

 Leave a legacy of life

Shreya Garg

Basic. Necessity. Sustenance. Generally a constitutional governed right, yet a scourge! Yes! Certain basic socio-economic sustaining factors have been a scourge for billions of people. One could rightly wonder as to how and why after so many years countries are struggling to reach even a bare minimum of essentials for a large number of people. Grassroot problems of poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy and gender inequality are plaguing many nations together. Each problem contributes to another in a wayward vicious manner. Working on all these problems together, therefore, becomes the key. Our forefathers internationally envisioned a world for us 70 years ago. For the same, United Nations, an intergovernmental organisation, aims to promote development and give humanitarian assistance to those in need among other things. Starting off with 51, it now shows a promising strength of 193 member states which contribute their bit together and hope to transform our world, keeping in view, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Dialogue is one of the fantastic avenues for creating awareness about any subject. For a subject to gain some traction, it needs a dialogue enabler. In India and the world, we have so many common vital subjects which need deliberation. For root cause problems, we need worldwide support and efforts. By enabling dialogue between its 193 members, and by hosting negotiations, the organisation has become a mechanism for governments to find areas of agreement and solve problems together.
United Nations has identified sustainable goal number 3 as health and wellbeing of people. Wellness is the cornerstone of any and every economy which is why when one witnesses that mortality rate is abysmal, one seriously needs to take stock of the grim situation and think of out-of-the-box solutions. There are so many neglected factors which contribute to poor health and early deaths. Proper sanitation, access to healthcare, vaccinations, R&D and other factors need attention and also budget allocations. Achieving universal health and wellness along with securing preventable deaths need the support from governments, private sectors, civil society and citizens alike.
We all know on February 14, 2019, as the CRPF convoy moved ahead of Srinagar little did they know what lay ahead. As they passed Pulwama, they were ambushed by a trained terrorist who detonated himself to kill 41 of them and injuring hundreds others. These injured were rushed to the hospital and many had injuries which required organ transplants, some got what they wanted due to the armies pool of organ donors but many had to wait and are still waiting. This is an everyday occurrence for hundreds of injured people due to accidents. While it is extremely deplorable to realise the number of lives a nation loses everyday which could have contributed in the making of a healthy economy. The other way round to look at things is to see how individually we care to contribute towards the longevity goal. Expecting government bodies and international organisations to help improve life expectancy and wellbeing of people but not doing our (citizens) bit is unfair to humanity. Yes! We can help others and make huge difference to other lives. Difference word probably doesn’t even cover the enormity of giving people another life to live. Science and technology has enabled the concept of organ donation. It definitely rings a bell in our mind but perhaps not in our hearts.
The forces have a pool of manpower which is young and healthy at their disposal. Most of them would like to donate their organs to other brothers in arm after death. However, due to the rules the smooth transfer is sometimes not possible. The rules prohibit a person to transfer organ to his/ her acquaintance. It may be prudent to check if the rules can be simplified within the forces to save precious lives.
Organ donation is one of the effective means to ensure improved life expectancy yet this cause has sadly not gained traction. While there are many ways to increase life expectancy, but each other alternative demands an incentive either monetarily or otherwise. Come to think of it, for organ donation all one needs is impetus in the form of human will and not incentive. So to exhort people to pledge to be donors is to serve humanity in a big way.
While there are quite a few organisations working towards the cause of organ donation. One such prominent foundation that primarily works for this noble cause, organ donation, is Mohan Foundation in India. It was founded by philanthropists and medical professionals led by Dr Sunil Shroff in 1997 soon after the ‘Transplantation of Human Organs Act’ came into force in 1994. Their mission is to ensure that every Indian who is suffering from an end stage organ failure be provided with the ‘gift of life’ through a lifesaving organ. In India, one of major reasons for the unfulfillment of this cause is lack of awareness quotient and to compound it, we have misgivings at play in full force. Both lack of awareness and apprehensions in plenty are interlinked and correlated. These foundations exist and work because of the few people amongst us who have the zeal and passion to serve for the people by spreading awareness, facilitating and coordinating for a noble cause.
Accidents or natural decay of organs has led to staggering number of deaths in India. Going by the statistics, nearly five lakh people lose out on their lives due to organ failure. Also, the waiting time period for transplant at AIIMS, one of India’s top medical institutions is eight months. Furthermore, what strengthens the veracity of lack of awareness and willpower among people in India is the deceased donor donation rate in India that stands at around 0.34 per million. So, we need to get out of the jeopardised position.
There are many out there who just aren’t aware of the prerequisites of being an organ donor in India. This situation exists not only because of lack of awareness but also of certain preconceived notions. However, why one must at least apprise themselves of the facts and entailment is to – first, realise the beauty and power of it, anyone regardless of age can pledge to be a donor. If a person below the age of 18 wishes to donate then all he needs is a consent from either a parent or a guardian. The only thing of bearing is the health of the organ one wishes to pledge to donate. Second, rarely does it happen when a noble cause calls for no sacrifice or adjustment. It’s really a boon for the people if it gains traction. No cons but only pros! Such a proposition makes the decision-making quite easy. Yet, even if it doesn’t generate favourable results then it becomes worrisome and imponderable.
There are fundamentally two types of organ donation. One is, living person organ donation, and the other is deceased person organ donation. Living donors can potentially donate one of two kidneys, one of the two lobes of their liver, and a lung or part of it, part of the pancreas, or part of the intestines. It is truly altruistic and magnanimous of someone to become a living donor, but one should take in account one’s health, and any unforeseen health complication. An extensive testing is done before the donation process which also involves psychological evaluation. It is done to gauge if the donor is a potential one or not, that is, if he’s mentally prepared and understands what he or she has intended to sign up for. For all of this, one is throughout helped by the transplant centres and the doctors to take a wise decision.
Another type of organ donation and the rather prevalent one is the deceased person organ donation. It can be a becoming sign of an utopian world if we humans achieve a high level of consciousness and pledge to be donors to serve humanity.
As many as 1.47 lakh people died on Indian roads in 4.64 lakh accidents reported during 2017, as per the report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The total organ donation shortage of the country can be met with if even 5-10% of these persons involved in fatal accidents serve as organ donors. Unfortunately, a small percentage like this has not been met by India so far.
Lack of awareness is there partly because people have certain pre-conceived notions which come in the way of those trying to create awareness. The apprehensions ranging from socio-cultural factors, superstitious beliefs, cost-laden procedure, and mutilation of body among other factors are all unfounded to say the least. Except the superstitious factors, all others have been negated every now and then by the organisations and the doctors working for organ donation. Whereas, many of the superstitions don’t have a genesis at all. Superstitions like, missing of donated organs in next birth, religious forbiddance etc are just a psychological drama which acts as a roadblock to a road of serving humanity.
Organ donation has changed lives, and will change many more lives if there’s will power to do something for our compatriots keeping aside the belying myths and superstitions. It’s a blessing for both the donor and the recipient. Through this one hopes to contribute to UN sustainable development goal no 3 – health and wellbeing by increasing the life expectancy rate in a country.

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.
John Bunyan


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