New Delhi: “There are a huge number of people on dialysis waiting for kidney transplants since very long and many people die every year waiting,” says Dr. Haresh Dodeja, Consultant Neurologist at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai. He said this during a discussion during the NDTV-Fortis #MoreToGive Walkathon to promote the cause of organ donation. The event garnered huge support across India with nearly 9 crore steps contributed in 7-cities of the Walkathon and online. In the Mumbai leg of the event, there were living donors and organ recipients who participated in the 3.1 km walk to encourage people to take the pledge and be an organ donor.
Jaya, who received a kidney eight and a half years ago and Ashish who got a kidney from his wife now lead a healthy life. Jaya said,
I received a kidney 8 and half year back. I have got a second chance to live and it is so much valuable.
While talking about the challenges a recipient faces after the operation, Dr. Dodeja said,
There are some challenges for the recipients. The body will try to reject the organ as it is a foreign organ in the body but there are medicines that can tackle this battle against the organ transplanted and the results are very good. The survival rate is quite high, more than 90 per cent for one year and 80 per cent for five years.
Jaya shared her experience about living on immunosuppressant medications. She said, “Because you live on immunosuppressant medicines all your life, there are some challenges but thanks to the doctors, these challenges can be easily overcome and there is a delicate balance that doctors know how to maintain. Life is great and getting back to normal. I would really appeal to everyone to think about organ donation. ”
Dr. Dodeja asserted,
It is important to create awareness because we are still way off the mark. We are almost at the bottom of the statistics in the world. A lot of people require kidneys, hearts and liver, but they die as they are unable to get an organ on time and it is unfortunate. If one million people require and organ, we have an availablility of organs for only eight of them. And a live donation programme is robust for kidney and liver but is not practical for heart. So when it comes to organ donation, you will help these people live longer. Any individual, will get a better and a longer life because of organ donation. And when you have a treatment and can get a better and a longer life, and still you can’t get it, it is unfortunate.
Another recipient, Ashish, who got the kidney from his wife said, “I received a kidney from my wife, I am hale and hearty and leading a very normal life. I request every person watching NDTV right now, please donate your organs and live even after you are gone. There is no bigger religion than humanity.”
Talking about the cost aspect of kidney transplant in India,
The number of patients on Dialysis is multiplying. Living on Dialysis put strain on the vessels and is a very expensive therapy. It is more expensive than having a kidney transplant and medications after the operation.” He further asserted, “In a country like India, cadaver donation is of paramount importance as the number of people waiting is huge. The cadaver available unfortunately cannot be translated into actual transplant if the family is not willing to donate. So awareness is extremely important for the relatives to give their consent at that time.
Jaya is now working with Mohan Foundation, an NGO that works in the field of promoting cadaver organ donations. She said,
The bigger story is that we want each and every person to think about organ donation because donation from one person can save upto 8 lives. Have this talk at home. It is important decision which you should take. I am alive today because someone donated a kidney to me, and this has given me a great second chance to live and it is very valuable, priceless and so many people can receive this gift.
NDTV – Fortis More To Give campaign aims to promote organ donation and encourage Indians to take the pledge to be an organ donor. India has among the lowest rates of organ donation in the world at 0.5 donor per million population, which is far less compared to over 30 donors per million in some western countries. On an average, five lakh Indians die every year unable to get an organ transplant in time due to the shortage of organs. Every year on National Organ Donation Day on November 27, a Walkathon is organised across different cities of India to raise awareness, bust myths about organ donation and encourage people to become organ donors. Over the years, the campaign has gathered support from celebrities like actor Irrfan Khan, Swara Bhasker, Gul Panag and Former Indian Hockey Captain Sandeep Singh.