On March 7, 2016, MOHAN Foundation was invited by Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) to conduct an awareness session on organ donation at Air Force Station, Sohna Road, Gurugram. Ms. Manisha P. Nayak President, AFWWA took the initiative to organize the talk on the eve of women’s day. Every year for women’s day AFWWA organizes a session on issues focusing women. This year Ms. Manisha, who personally feels for the cause, wanted to create awareness on organ donation among the families of the air force personnel. Ms. Mareena Thomas, Programme Officer, Delhi-NCR was the resource person for the session. Ms. Jyoti Sharma, Transplant Coordinator, accompanied her.
Air Commodore J. K. Nayak Commanding Officer, Air Force Station, Sohna Road, Gurugram gave an introductory address on importance of organ donation and invited Ms. Mareena Thomas to conduct the talk.
Mareena began the session by asking the participants if anyone had heard of organ donation, coma or brain death. While many of them had heard about organ donation, only a few knew about brain death. She then shared that sensitization session as the one she was conducting was a platform to understand the concept of organ donation and to clarify any doubts regarding the same.
During the session the basic difference between cardiac death and brain death was explained. The fact that organ donation is possible only in the case of brain death was stressed upon. Participants asked technical questions regarding brain-stem death certification, sharing of organs and organ donation rate of India that were answered in a professional manner.
Mareena clarified the misconception that organ donation takes place only in private hospitals due to the nature of service which private hospitals provide and the connected financial imperatives for all concerned. She shared the high number of cadaveric donations that have taken place in government hospitals like All India Institute of Medical Sciences where 14 heart transplants were conducted last year, a big number as far as heart transplants are concerned and Safdarjung Hospital where the hospitals first small intestine retrieval was done from a 22 year old CRPF jawan who was declared brain stem dead. To a query regarding organs from armed forces personnel to be shared only with armed forces she replied that organ sharing and networking policy of states or locations of hospitals is not binding on the Armed Forces Medical Services and the Armed Forces have their own policy of organ or tissue allocation and sharing, and the Directorate General Armed Forces Medical Services could have their own networking between services hospitals.
200 participants were present and 150 donor cards were taken.