Minister of Health flags off National Campaign for Body-Organs Donation

Minister of Health flags off National Campaign for Body-Organs Donation

September 2022: 60+ NGOs from around the country resolved to together launch a National Campaign for body-organs donation in the country. The primary objective of the campaign is to dispel unawareness among people and enlighten them to the fact that they can restore life in several people in need of organs.

“Swasth Sabal Bharat” Conclave was inaugurated by the chief guest, Mr Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, who also showed concern over people’s lack of awareness and involvement in body-organ donation and assured that he will soon discuss this with the PMO to incorporate this issue in the priority list. While addressing the media, he applauded the efforts of Dadhichi and congratulated its members on the 25th anniversary of the organisation. The Health Minister said, “With more than 17 thousand donors onboard, 353 body donations, 870 pairs of eye donations, six organ donations, two bone donations and three skin donations, Dadhichi had already set an example for others in this regard. Besides, the idea of kick-starting a national campaign is a pressing need of the time that should be supported by all stakeholders.”

In the presence Shri Ganga Prasad Chaurasia, Hon’ble Governor of Sikkim, Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Member of Parliament, Shri Sushil Modi, Member of Parliament, and a host of other eminent personalities, Dadhichi made a formal announcement of “Swasth Sabal Bharat,” a national campaign on body-organ donation. During a press conference at NDMC Convention Centre (New Delhi), Alok Kumar, Sr. Advocate and Patron of Dadhichi apprised about the campaign and shared its blueprint.

The occasion was also graced by the holy presence of Pujya Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati of Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Ms. Bharti Praveen Panwar, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Malhotra, President, Dadhichi, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry Health and Family Welfare, Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of Ayush, Amit Singla, Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Prof. Dr Pranjal Modi, Vice Chancellor, Gujarat University of Transplantation Sciences, Prof. Atul Goel, Director General, Directorate of Health Services, Manohar Agnani, Addl. Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Rajneesh Sahai, Director, National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation along with delegates from 60+ NGOs from 22 states, 20+ professional bodies and other important stakeholders who deliberated to resolve the cause of body-organs donation.

“It is said in the universal prayer, “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah, Sarve Santu Niramayah” i.e. all be happy and all be free of diseases. Today, the major organisations working in the field or supporting the cause of body donation for education and organ donation for transplantation have assembled here from all parts of the country. This is our quest for a healthy and strong India. The presence and the response of the Ministers and senior officials of the Union Ministry of Health assure us that the campaign shall receive all infrastructural and other support for body-organs donation,” noted President of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti Harsh Malhotra.

The day-long Swasth Sabal Bharat Conclave was also attended by NGOs and important stakeholders and associations in the health sector, including Mohan Foundation, Organ India, Indian Medical Association, NOTTO, ORBO, National Eye Bank, Amma Eye-Organ-Body Donation Promoters Organisation, The Federation of Organ and Body Donation, and Eye Bank Association of India. During a session with them, the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) presented a detailed report on organ donation in India. As per their report, a sharp fall among brain-dead donors in 2020 is a clarion call to take strong initiatives. The number of brain-dead donors in 2019 was 715 which reduced to only 315 in 2020. Though the figure improved in 2021 with 552 registrations, it was still lesser than the record maintained in 2019.

The biggest concern highlighted by NOTTO is a very slow improvement in organ donation rate (ODR). It was 0.27 in 2013 and increased only marginally in eight years of duration, i.e., ODR in 2021 was 0.4. This tepid improvement in ODR demands a national-level campaign, the very reason for initiating Swasth Sabal Bharat by Dadhichi.

Based on the brainstorming session with around 60 NGOs from 21 states of India, Advocate Alok Kumar presented a list of suggestions to Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya. While briefing about this list, Advocate Kumar said, “A big majority of Indians are supportive of a law that could encourage and incentivise organ donations in the country. This was revealed during a nationwide survey conducted by CVoter on behalf of Dadhichi Deh Daan Samiti to gauge public opinion on the issue. Close to 48% of the informed respondents categorically said they are in favour of a law to register all Indians for voluntary organ donations.”

“The body-organs donation drive cannot reach its culmination without the public-private partnership and the government needs to play a pivotal role in it. So, after a series of brainstorming sessions with more than 60 NGOs across the nation, we have concluded a final list of suggestions to the government and we are optimistic that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government will positively work on them,” Mr Alok Kumar further commented.

Formed in 1997, Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti has been the torch-bearer in spreading awareness on Body-Organ donations. The organisation’s primary aim is to make people realize how the donated body/organs of a deceased/donor can be life-saving for persons in dire need. Over 300 volunteers of Dadhichi take each step with the utmost delicacy and ensure a smooth process of donation without any hassles to the donor family.

“India is far behind other developing countries in terms of organ donation despite having one of the largest populations. Major reasons behind this can be the lack of public awareness. As revealed by the CVoter survey, it is not prejudice or superstitions that prevent citizens from considering organ donation as an option. It is the lack of credible information and ignorance over the issue. More than 85% of respondents in the survey clearly stated that they did not know about donating organs like kidneys, liver, heart, lungs and eyes,” noted President of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti Harsh Malhotra. 

“There is thus an urgent need for the government, civil society groups and concerned citizens to come together and spread the message of organ donation that saves a precious life every time. It is our firm belief that through this campaign, we will achieve our target to encourage more and more people towards body-organ-eye donation,” Mr Malhotra added.

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