On June 15, 2018, MOHAN Foundation conducted an awareness talk on organ donation for first year students pursuing MPH of Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH, Delhi) at Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), Gurugram. Dr. (Ms.) Pallavi Rekhi took the initiative to organize the talk at PHFI and Ms. Shanti Dahal from the organization coordinated it. Ms. Mareena Thomas (Programme Officer, MF Delhi-NCR) was the resource person. She was accompanied by Dr. Rekhi.
The Public Health Foundation of India is a public-private initiative that has collaboratively evolved through consultations with multiple constituencies including Indian and international academia, state and central governments, multi and bilateral agencies and civil society groups.
Mareena began the session by introducing the Foundation and its activities. She asked them few opening questions on organ donation to gauge their level of understanding on the said subject. Then she proceeded to explain the concepts of organ donation and transplantation. An eye opener of the session for the students was that a person who is brain dead is ‘dead’. And, it is only in the case of brain death that one can donate organs. She tried to focus on the myths that circulate around organ donation and asked the students for their opinion on the same. She stated it very clearly that commercial dealing of organs is illegal and punishable under the law. She also asked their view on why one should donate organs and why is the rate of organ donation so less in India. To this, most of the students responded quickly and had varied opinions.
Students had lot of queries, to name a few:
Many students showed keen interest to volunteer for the Foundation and also wished to become organ donors by signing the pledge form. Few participants shared their personal experiences with the group like one of the participant’s grandmother donated her kidney to a family member while another one’s family friend donated corneas after death.
Overall, it was an interactive session and all the queries were handled professionally by MF representatives.
Close to 15-20 students participated in the session and 10 Forms (Form 7) were picked up.