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Saving lives is an idea that has always inspired Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw in her work as chairman and managing director of biopharma company, Biocon. It has also inspired her to pledge her organs for donation and to speak up for the cause. She tells Rohith B R that India has a long way to go because of low awareness about the issue

Why is organ donation such a critical issue?

Every year hundreds of lives are lost as they don’t have access to vital organs that can be harvested. It is very important for every one of us to know that we can save several lives if we donate our organs. This is what I mean by life after death.

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We are losing very valuable organs because there’s no practice of organ donation in India. We cremate bodies with the organs intact. These are healthy organs which can be made use of to save people’s lives.

Is there very low awareness in India? There is no awareness. Understanding of cadaver organs and how they can be used is simply not there. There is a need for an intensive drive in this regard. I am glad that The Times of India Group has taken up this initiative.

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Are cultural and religious beliefs a major problem?
Many Indians believe that one should not tamper with dead bodies. But they don’t understand that they are losing an opportunity to save other lives. We should be led by science and work positively to bring changes in society.

Should there be any policy intervention as some regulations for organ donation are cumbersome?
I don’t think you can enforce any policy in this regard. Encouraging people to pledge organs voluntarily would go a long way. As individuals and as families, we should realize the need for it.

Have you pledged your organs?
Yes, I have pledged because I believe that my organs can save many lives in future.


Source
Times of India
29 July 2013

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