Organ donation awareness among India's youth has increased.
India’s young population is paving the way for social change, and how!
As per a study conducted by Mohan Foundation, an NGO, the number of youth pledging their organs has increased manifold. 81% of the pledges for organ donation signed between 2010 and 2018 were by those in the 18-40 age group.
The largest group of signatories—22,850 out of the 43,792 pledges—was from the 21-30 age group.
Here’s an anecdote from 2016, to show just how aware the youth are in this regard.
Vaibhav Sanghavi, a 15-year-old student of Class 10 and a resident of Mumbai, had just finished his exams when he was faced with a major dilemma. Vaibhav’s mother had passed away, and the doctors asked him if he would consent to donate her organs.
This is a tough decision for anyone, and more so for Vaibhav and his younger brother because they alone, were to make this difficult decision. Showing immense grace and maturity, the two children replied in the affirmative.
Top doctors have stated that this is not an isolated case.
Speaking to the Times of India, Dr Bharat Shah, a Mumbai-based nephrologist, and the founder of Narmada Kidney Foundation said that, “In the event of a brain death, if the consent has to come from youngsters, the answer is (mostly) a yes, and is likely to be a no if the elderly have to take a similar decision.”
Dr Ashutosh Chauhan, a liver transplant surgeon at Mumbai’s Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, agrees with Dr Shah.
“The youth of this country are socially conscious and aware, and more often than not, they are positive about organ donation as they read about such cases in the newspaper or on social media. Often, it’s a matter of just introducing them to the idea of organ donation and telling them about the benefits,” he informed TOI.
India is still far behind the global index—there is less than one donor, for every million citizens, as compared to Spain that has 36 donors per million people. However, the numbers mentioned above are incredible for a nation, that not too long ago, eyed organ donation with suspicion.
The increase in organ donations can be attributed to various factors, the most important being increased awareness about organ donation, among the young, which in turn, results in them educating their families about its benefits.
“Youngsters can motivate family members. They are instrumental in making decisions as far as organ donation is concerned,” said Dr SK Mathur of the Mumbai Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC) to TOI.
Seeing this trend, NGOs and government organisations have decided to focus on the youth to promote organ donation. The ZTCC regularly participates in marathons and walkathons, and distributes souvenirs, such as t-shirts and caps, with messages promoting organ donation, on them.
An organ donation could potentially save a life. It is important that we look beyond ourselves, and pledge to help our fellow humans who might need it. Read here, about the steps involved, if you wish to pledge your organs after death.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)