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Life After Death: Organ Donation

"Don't take your organs to heaven with you. Heaven knows we need them here"
- Author unknown

A function to honor Organ donor families was held at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan in Chennai on 7th of June. It was organized by MOHAN (Multi-Organ Harvesting And Networking) Foundation to felicitate the commendable contributions of a few selfless families who made life possible for a hapless few. The function was graced by the presence of the governor, Dr. Surjit Singh Barnala, and a few other dignitaries.

Dr. Sunil Shroff, Managing trustee of MOHAN Foundation, delivered the welcome address. He drew the attention of the audience to the fact that a live donor is capable of donating only a single organ, while a brain-dead person or a cadaver is capable of donating several organs such as the kidneys, liver, pancreas, heart, heart valves and eyes to name a few. This, of course, can be accomplished only if the families consent and say yes to organ donation. This can be a difficult decision unless the family is educated about brain death.

Well trained professionals, state- of- the- art hospitals, and an ever- growing 'needy' population have ensured that Tamil Nadu, is indeed the 'kidney hub' of the world. Organ donation by a relative does not require any credentials or approval. However, all hell breaks loose when the donor is a non-relative. Dubious strategies are adopted due to the ever-increasing demand for transplant organs and also due to the 'red-tapeism' involved.

According to the Health Secretary of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Subburaj, who was present at the occasion, it is absolutely essential to concentrate on the importance of cadavers, as organ donors, to bridge the gap between demand and availability. The government, during the past 5 months, formatted rigorous methods to check the malpractice associated with organ trade, particularly involving kidneys. So m uch so that, patients themselves began to arrive at the government's portals to seek authorization . In the place of the 300 transplants that were done earlier, only 70-80 are currently considered. Although precautions to check discrepancies are taken, care has been taken not to hassle the patients and to extend maximum help to them.

Poetess, activist and Rajya Sabha member, Ms.Kanimozhi, through her inspiring speech demanded that the family members of the deceased should be made more 'answerable', in case they failed to comply with the wishes of the deceased to donate an organ.

State minister for social welfare Dr. Poongothai observed that the current life style ensured that several grave ailments such as chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease and diabetes are on an unprecedented rise. There is, therefore, an exponential demand for the organs like never before. The minister pointed out that the organ donors need to be recognized as the 'health ambassadors' for Tamil Nadu, the 'Mecca of medicine'.

Dr. S. S. Barnala stressed upon the life-saving quality of organ donation and called upon voluntary organizations and NGOs to work in harmony in order to promote the same.

During the function Dr. Poongothai and Ms.Kanimozhi pledged their organs and accepted organ donor cards. Dr.Barnala also informed the audience of his pledge for eye donation.

Three publications of MOHAN Foundation were also released during the function. The publications included the 24 th Issue of Indian Transplant Newsletter, Diet for Kidney Failure and Transplantation by Ms.Rajeshwari and a collection of articles on organ donation by Dr.ramakrishnan.

The need of the hour is to create awareness among the general public about the virtues of organ donation in general and cadaver organ donation in particular. Although eye and blood donation awareness has created ri pples , sympathizers of the organ transplant are far and few. This is largely due to ignorance and fear. It is therefore absolutely necessary to dispel these 'twin obstacles' by educating the public and also by promoting the cause of the needy who stand on the threshold of death.

Pledge your organs and donate life-TODAY!
To download an Organ Donor card visit.
http: www.mohanfoundation.org/downloads.asp.


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