Mission donation: Doctor's efforts lead 12,000 people to enlist as organ donors in Rajasthan

Jaipur’s Upasana Chaudhary, an MBBS doctor, undertook a yatra across the state to make people aware about organ donation, a service they can render even after their death.

Published: 29th November 2020 07:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th November 2020 07:47 AM   |  A+A-

In the past two months, Upasana Chaudhary(above) campaigned across 15 districts of Rajasthan raising awareness about organ donation. She began her campaign post-lockdown from Sep 25 (Photo | EPS)

In the past two months, Upasana Chaudhary(above) campaigned across 15 districts of Rajasthan raising awareness about organ donation. She began her campaign post-lockdown from Sep 25 (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

RAJASTHAN: It’s now seven years since Upasana Chaudhary from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district failed to find a kidney donor for her critically ill cousin. That persisting helplessness, however, has pushed Upasana to make organ donation her mission.

She went on to complete her MBBS and then worked at Delhi’s Ganga Ram hospital for three years. The 28-year-old doctor is now a faculty member at the PDU Government Medical College in Jhunjhunu.

In the past two months till this National Organ Donation Day (November 27), Upasana campaigned across 15 districts of Rajasthan raising awareness about organ donation. Her efforts have led to 12,000 people enlisting for organ donation with a written oath.

Upasana is a member of the Mahatma Gandhi Swasthya Sansthan, an NGO set up to raise awareness about organ donation. She began her campaign post-lockdown from September 25. Her ‘Ang Rath Yatra’ showcased special films on projectors to inform people that organ donation after their death can help at least eight people get a better life.

She returned to Jaipur on October 19. “My cousin needed a kidney transplant, but there was no organ donor. My uncle’s HLA (human leukocyte antigen typing) did not match. Even after many attempts, we were not able to prolong his life as he was on dialysis. That’s when I realised that I needed to do something,” says Upasana.

She laments that Rajasthan is way behind southern states in organ donation. “The system is not sensitive enough and people are unaware. The fact is the dead can help the living beings with their organs,” she says. Upasana travelled through villages along with her team to raise awareness. To fund the yatra, she donated her two-month salary. The results are encouraging, says she.

“We show people films where a person’s organ, such as the heart, has been donated to the needy. There are some people who are aware but don’t know the donation process. We not only raised awareness but also took a pledge from the willing to donate their organs,” she said.

“Before I was made aware, I thought we could donate only our eyes after our death. I had no idea about the process. But the Yatra has broadened my vision. I have now pledged to donate all my organs so that others could live a better life,” said Himanshu, a contractor in Bikaner.

Upasana also lists out various donation options. “When somebody goes to donate one’s organs, one has to fill a form that also has a question on which of the eight organs he/she wants to donate. They can also donate their entire body for medical studies. This data is then fed into a SOTO record. Such people can be traced in case of the worst,” she says.

In her campaigns, Upasna had to bust a few myths. “It is easy to make educated people aware about donation. But unlettered people have this myth that if they donate their organs, they will be reborn without those organs in the body. To remove these superstitions, we take the help of the local administration and teachers.” She says the need for organ donation remains more than urgent as over 5 lakh people are currently on the waiting list for organ transplants in the country.

In Rajasthan, however, only 38 donors have given all their vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and the pancreas. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a further dip in donor transplants across India. Bhawna Jagwani, the founder-trustee of Rajasthan’s leading NGO and a member of the Organ Donation and Transplant Committee says there have been no organ donations in the past six months.

“In this situation, Dr Upasna has done a commendable job to promote organ donations. It’s a great effort by a young doctor and we deeply appreciate her commitment.” Upasana’s parents and her husband Amit Gate have made crucial contributions in taking her special mission forward.

After her Yatra, many people have begun calling Upasana personally to pledge their organs and some have even offered to donate their entire body after death. “The final decision rests with their families. But once a person signs up for organ donation, it creates a moral pressure on the family to respect his/her wishes,” says Upasana.

Busting a few Myths
In her campaigns, Upasna had to bust a few myths. “It is easy to make educated people aware about donation. But unlettered people have this myth that if they donate their organs, they will be reborn without those organs in the body.

To remove these superstitions, we take the help of the local administration and teachers.” She says the need for organ donation remains more than urgent as over 5 lakh people are currently on the waiting list for organ transplants in the country. In Rajasthan, however, only 38 donors have given all their vital organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and the pancreas.
 

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  • Amit get

    Great & nobel initiative
    1 month ago reply
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