Donate organs; time to change traditional mindset of disposing the dead


Jaswant Singh Gandam / Raman Nehra
India Post News Service

PHAGWARA: Even after 26 years since the Organ Donation Act was adopted in India on 8 July 1994, there is a huge gap between requirement and actual donation of organs.Foremost is the need to change the traditional mindset of burning/burying the dead; by donating their organs for sake of providing light and delight in the lives of people in need.

This observation was made by Ashok Mehra, the international coordinator of Punarjot, an NGO wedded to the noble cause of providing sight to the visually impaired people.It was made in observance of Organ Donation Act day on 8 July and to motivate people to donate organs.

Giving figures to prove his point, Mehra, a UK-based NRI engaged in voluntary services here, rued there is only one organ donor for one million people.

He said, ”Government’s figures say that while there is need for 1,80,000 kidney transplants, while only 6000 transplants were done; for 30,000 liver transplants, only 1500 were available and for 50,000 heart transplants, just about 50 were done. These are tragic and painful figures. In the 21st century, all sectors, including religious, social, health, NGOs, political, media and educational institutions; should come forward for changing traditional mindset of burning or burying the dead and instead donating their organs for giving life or light to the needy.”

Leading from the front and by practice, the NRI couple Ashok Mehra and his wife Mrs. Kamal Mehra have already pledged to donate their organs, including eyes and body, after their death. Punarjot had secured one lakh pledge forms for eye donation while 100 eyes had hitherto been donated.

Punarjot Eye Bank Ludhiana, headed by its Director Dr Ramesh, has so far done 5200 free cornea transplants.