New Delhi: Terming organ donation as a divine and godly act that has the power to saves many lives, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan urged citizens towards organ donation. “The families of organ donors are bravehearts who take such decisions at a time which is so emotionally painful for them as well as their near and dear ones. My heartfelt salutations to them,” said Vardhan as he presided over the Donor Felicitation Ceremony organised by Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), AIIMS, in Delhi yesterday. Also present at the event were Minister of State for Sports Kiren Rijiju, Rajya Sabha MP Mary Kom, and singer Mohit Chauhan.
ORBO is the nodal facility at AIIMS facilitating the entire process of cadaver organ and tissue transplantation, from procurement till transplantation in the recipient. ORBO has also been proactive in creating awareness and undertaking training in the field of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. In addition to organ donation from brain-dead donors, ORBO also coordinates tissue donation from cardiac arrest donors.
Moved by the event, Vardhan said, “I don’t remember having attended any function which has touched my heart so much.” He applauded the grit and courage of the families and called the donors great souls who continue to live with us. “Through their selfless acts, these people have done what many Governments can’t do alone,” he said.
The Minister observed that people who have donated organs of their family members are the ones who have contributed in a seminal manner to society. They have fulfilled their social responsibility, and inspired millions to opt for organ donation, he added.
A few days ago, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also called upon the youth to take a pledge to donate their bodies and organs.
The Minister further said, “One donor can save the lives of 7 or 8 patients and can enhance the quality of life of 40-50 patients.” He acknowledged the need to motivate individuals, families, and organisations to pledge to donate organs after death, and to spread awareness about the importance of organ donation. “There is a lack of awareness; myths and fear in peoples’ minds about organ and tissue donation,” he said.
Vardhan appreciated the activities of ORBO, saying, “One cornea donor can give sight to up to four people, using advanced technology. The skin tissue is used to help burn victims. Bones donated are used for bones damaged by tumours, traumas and infections. This would save limbs from being amputated.”
Vardhan also narrated the story of a young organ donor named Surabhi who gave her organs to several recipients in 2014. To honour her deed, ORBO put up a plaque in her memory, he noted.
Minister of State for Sports, Kiren Rijiju, said that while many people think about organ donation, few have been able to do it. “It’s an act through which a person lives on even after his/her death,” he added while expressing his respects for the families of donors. He underlined the importance of creating widespread awareness about the issue so that it becomes a regular practice in the country.
Mary Kom, Rajya Sabha MP and Indian Olympic Boxer, said, “I salute the bravehearts and their families who have donated their organs to give life to others. They have made our world and our lives better through their priceless sacrifice.” She encouraged people to come forward for organ donation, adding that it had inspired her to do something in the field.
Vardhan, along with Rijiju and Kom, felicitated the families of 38 multi-organ donors, 5 body donors who donated their whole bodies for medical education, and 8 tissue donors who donated multiple tissues after cardiac death. Organ transplant recipients were also present during the ceremony and expressed their deep gratitude to the families of donors.
Also present at the event were Transplant Team Members, Brain Death Certification Committee Members, faculties, resident doctors of AIIMS, transplant coordinators, nursing officers and AIIMS staff.