On the occasion of National Organ Donation Day, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday inaugurated the country’s first organ donor memorial in Jaipur.
The organ donor memorial, built near SMS Hospital, is dedicated in honour of those who have given life to hundreds of others.
The names of 38 organ donors who have saved the lives of 133 people not only in Rajasthan but also in Delhi and Mumbai are etched on the memorial. The memorial is inspired by the famous Jantar Mantar of Jaipur and has been designed by Sameer Wheaton. It depicts life looking towards the cosmic heavens in gratitude, compassion and love.
Gehlot inaugurated the memorial through a virtual programme to mark the occasion.
Gehlot said the initiative was a good beginning but there was a long road ahead to spread awareness about organ donation.
“Organ donation is only 0.08 percent in India while in Spain it is 35 percent, in the US it is 21 percent and in the UK it is 15 percent. So there is a long way to go,” he said.
He appreciated the work being done in SMS hospital for organ transplant despite constraints and added that more infrastructure is needed and the work should also be extended to other hospitals.
The memorial has been built by the Mohan Foundation Jaipur Citizens Forum and the Jaipur Municipal Corporation.
Rajiv Arora, founder chairman of Mohan Foundation Jaipur Citizens Forum (MFJCF), said the memorial would inspire people to donate organs on the theme of ‘Ek Khamoshi, Anek Muskaan, Aao Karein Angdaan.’
He said it was due to CM Gehlot’s vision that work of organ donation could start in Rajasthan in 2013. The MFJCF has worked with the government to frame organ donation guidelines and protocol, has provided training to medical staff and has set-up a registry and donor card for organ donation.
The first organ donation in the state was done by 6-year-old Mohit from Alwar district in 2015. Since then, 38 families have come forward to donate organs of their kin who have been declared brain dead.
So far, the organs harvested from the 38 donors include 69 kidneys, 33 livers, 19 hearts, 12 corneas, 1 lung, 1 pancreas and 2 heart valves.
A majority of the donors were accident victims who were declared brain dead. Counselors then encouraged the families to donate organs.
Bhawna Jagwani, convenor MFJCF, said she conceived of the idea of a memorial during a visit to the UK in 2017. “I saw a war memorial with names of martyrs etched on it. Every day people would come to pay tribute. I thought we should have such a memorial for organ donors who are making such an important contribution to society and saving the lives of other people. I am grateful to the government and others associated with us who have helped to make this a reality.”