Vardhan urges people to donate organs

New Delhi, Nov 13 (PTI) Describing organ donation as a divine and noble act that can save lives, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan urged people on Wednesday to come forth and donate organs without any fear.Vardhan, who presided over a donor felicitation ceremony organised by the Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), AIIMS, applauded the grit and courage of the families that took the decision of donating the organs of their near and dear ones in the most aggrieved circumstances to save the lives of others."The families of organ donors are bravehearts who take such decisions at a time which is so emotionally painful for them as well as for their near and dear ones. My heartfelt salutations to them."Through their selfless act, these people have done what many governments cannot do. They have fulfilled their social responsibility," the minister said as he felicitated 51 donor families.One donor can save the lives of seven-eight patients and enhance the quality of life of 40-50 people, Vardhan said, while stressing on the need to motivate individuals, families and organisations to pledge to donate organs after death and spread awareness about the importance of the act."There is a lack of awareness, myths and fear in people's mind about organ and tissue donations," he said.Expressing concern over the huge gap between the demand and supply of organs and tissues in the country, Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth and Minority Affairs Kiren Rijiju underlined the importance of creating awareness about the issue.In India, around 1.5-2 lakh patients require kidney transplantation annually, but only about 7,500-8,000 receive it, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Randeep Guleria said, adding that around 75,000-80,000 patients require liver transplants annually but only around 1,800 such surgeries are performed.Similarly, one lakh patients need corneal transplantation but only 50,000 undergo surgery, he said.In case of heart transplantation, the scenario is much more dismal, Guleria said, adding that over 10,000 people require heart transplant, whereas only 150-200 transplants are performed annually.Rajya Sabha MP and Olympian MC Mary Kom, who was also present at the event, encouraged people to come forward for organ donation. "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," the boxer said. PTI PLB RC