Synchrony Dialogues with MOHAN Foundation - Body Donation-Advancing Medical Science & Benefiting Humanity

Updated on Wednesday, November 11, 2020
  • On October 23, 2020, MOHAN Foundation in association with Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti organized a webinar titled, Body Donation-Advancing Medical Science & Benefiting Humanity as part of the ongoing series of webinars called Synchrony Dialogues with MOHAN Foundation. The KBC’s Karamveer episode with Dr. Sunil Shroff, Managing Trustee, MOHAN Foundation had triggered interest in people to know more about organ and body donation. After receiving an overwhelming response from people and the endless enquiries on body donation on MF’s helpline, MOHAN Foundation organized the webinar on body donation. The webinar was live on various social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram & Twitter.


    The webinar was moderated by Ms. Pallavi Kumar, Executive Director, MOHAN Foundation (Delhi-NCR). Dr. Niroshean Seneviratne - Consultant Urologist and Transplant Surgeon, Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital, Colombo, Mr. Harsh Malhotra-President, Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti & Dr. Sunil Shroff-Managing Trustee, MOHAN Foundation were the guest speakers.


    Ms. Pallavi Kumar began the session by introducing all the speakers and their respective organizations. She informed the audience about Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti, Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society & The National Eye Bank of Sri Lanka. Ms. Pallavi shared the following information with the audience: 

    • Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti is a society dedicated to promoting the cause of body and organ donation after death. It registers willing persons as donors and after the death of a donor, coordinates with a Govt. Medical College for the donation of the organs and cadavers.


    • Sri Lanka, one of the world’s leading providers of corneas has donated excess corneas to foreign patients for decades. Between 1961 and mid-August 2016, the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society provided 47,850 corneas to Sri Lankans and 73,085 corneas to people in 57 countries of the world. In addition, nearly 4,000 pairs of eyes, which were not suitable for transplant, were supplied for local and international research.


    • The National Eye Bank of Sri Lanka, which was set up in 2011 through collaboration between the governments of Sri Lanka and Singapore, had donated more than 6,000 corneas to local and foreign recipients as of mid-August 2016. Both the organizations provide corneas free of charge and foreign hospitals only pay the export-fees.


    Ms. Pallavi Kumar then invited Dr. Niroshean Seneviratne to throw light on how Sri Lanka has become the world’s leading provider of corneas and how the rate of eye and body donation is increasing in Sri Lanka. His discussion points were:

    • In Sri Lanka, eye donation first started in early 1930 at a low-profile state.
    • In 1956, people who were served death sentence became the source for corneal donation but after the amendment in the Transplantation of Human Tissues Act of Sri Lanka, the organ donor pool had vanished.
    • The famous eye surgeon Dr. F. G. Hudson Silva initiated the debate on how to collect corneas for the local patients and in 1964, the Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society was formed to motivate people for eye donation and to retrieve corneas from deceased bodies.
    • 75% of the total population of Sri Lanka follows Buddhism. According to Buddhist belief, organ donation is a true form of reincarnation. The body is not permanent after death, so it is better to donate it to save many lives.
    • The eye banks in Sri Lanka have adequate corneas to serve the local population.
    • Sri Lanka exports approx. 75,000 corneas annually to other countries such as Singapore, China, Japan, USA and Europe.
    • Medical Institutes in Sri Lanka organize the “Pirith Ceremony” annually to pay tribute to the deceased bodies donated by the families. The family members are invited to the ceremony.


    Ms. Pallavi Kumar invited Dr. Sunil Shroff-Managing Trustee, MOHAN Foundation to address the audience and to give his views on the scope and significance of body donation in the current era of advanced technology used in medical sciences such as 3D anatomical models & virtual cadaver dissection. The main points discussed by Dr. Shroff were:

    • Advanced Technology has given a new fillip to Cadaver Donation Programme.
    • The method of teaching medical students through 3D cadaver is very unique and lively. The dissection process gives clarity to students studying anatomy.
    • Some of the premier medical institutes in India have 3D and virtual Labs consisting of mannequins which are very expensive and not all the medical institutes can afford them, which is the only drawback.
    • Unfortunately, in many medical institutes, there is one cadaver available per 20 students to dissect which is a big hurdle for them. So, it is very important that people pledge for body donation for the betterment of humanity.
    • There are 540 medical colleges in India, out of which 260 medical colleges are Government colleges. Mostly the AIIMS have adequate cadavers for medical research and the rest of the colleges lack cadavers. There is a huge demand for cadavers in medical colleges, so body donation is valuable, and it is the need of the hour.


    Ms. Pallavi Kumar invited Mr. Harsh Malhotra to speak about the history of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti, how it was formed and the importance of body donation. The main points discussed by Mr. Harsh were:

    • With inspiration from Maharshi Dadhichi, “Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti” is dedicated to the cause of spreading awareness on body donation. The organization motivates people to take body donation pledge. It has been coordinating the body donation process after the individual’s death in Delhi NCR since 1997.
    • There is an acute shortage of cadavers in medical institutes/universities in India. In many universities, there is only one cadaver available per 20 students to study anatomy.
    • For new medical techniques and possibilities such as knee replacement, the doctors need cadavers so there is a huge demand for cadavers in medical institutes.
    • At the time of filling the pledge form for body donation, it is mandatory to get signatures on the form from 2 family members. The signed form has to be sent to Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti’s office by post. 
    • After death, the bodies are directly handed over to the medical institutes.
    • Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti has been organizing seminars and webinars for the students of medical institutes for imparting knowledge on body donation process and to respect the deceased bodies which have been donated by the families.
    • A body of a person who died of end-stage tuberculosis, AIDS, cancer and died due to COVID 19 cannot be donated.


    At the end of the webinar, Dr. Sunil Shroff informed the audience that there is a guideline from the Government of India for Body Donation during COVID 19 pandemic. There is a proper system for disposal of the bodies, who died due to COVID 19 infection. He appreciated the Pirith Ceremony which is being practiced in medical institutes in Sri Lanka and said the same should be followed in India as it is a good concept to teach young medical students to respect the human body. To encourage the audience to pledge for body donation, he gave the example of Late Susan Potter. He informed that a 72-year-old disabled cancer survivor named Susan Potter wheeled into the office of Dr. Victor Spitzer at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and demanded to donate her body to the Visible Human Project. Meaning that she was requesting, following her natural death, for her body to be sawed into thousands of hair-thin sections that would be photographed, digitized, and painstakingly labeled in order to create an immortal online cadaver that could advance medical training and research. That is a true example of body donation for the betterment of medical science and humanity.


    The webinar had 502 views on Facebook, 63 views on YouTube and 50 views on Twitter. 


    Click here to watch the video.

    Source-Ms. Preeti Goswami
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