Pune ZTCC first in state to launch online organ donation pledge form

At Pune's Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee, which allocates donated organs, authorities said they were able to list only 13 brain dead patients till date as donors.

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the organ donation programme in the city.

At Pune’s Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee, which allocates donated organs, authorities said they were able to list only 13 brain dead patients till date as donors. To encourage organ donation, Pune ZTCC has taken the lead and is the first organisation in Maharashtra to launch an online organ donation pledge form.

“All one has to do is scan the QR code and pledge organs. Be a hero, be an organ donor,” said Aarti Gokhale, central coordinator, ZTCC, Pune. ZTCC is instrumental in allocation of donated organs. There are four ZTCCs in the state – Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad.

“During the first wave last year, we were able to enlist 41 brain dead patients as organ donors while this year there have been only 13 organ donors. Due to the lockdown-like restrictions, our teams were unable to physically visit organisations and educational institutions to provide forms and ask citizens to enlist their willingness to donate organs,” Gokhale added.

The demand is high as ZTCC’s waiting list has 1,600 patients who require a kidney, 600 who need a liver transplant, 50 who need a heart and 75 patients who require two organs (multi-visceral). From January 1 till June 21, there were 13 deceased donors and a total of 33 organs could be retrieved. But only 13 kidneys and livers each could be transplanted, Gokhale said. Two hearts were sent from Pune to Hyderabad and Mumbai. From January to December 2020, there were 41 patients who were listed as brain stem death donors. A total of 48 organs were retrieved last year.

A large number of people die due to non-functioning organs every year. According to Union health ministry data, approximately five lakh people die every year due to non-availability of organs with authorities pleading for stepping up the organ donation programme. “We need to create more awareness about organ donation and encourage as many people as possible to scan the QR code and fill the pledge form,” Gokhale said, adding, “The donor card can also be directly accessed by logging on to the ZTCC website.”

Short film on organ donation

The deceased donor programme has been affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic and while ZTCC has been making several efforts to reach out to the maximum number of people via its online pledge form, a new film, Gulmohar, which will be released soon, aims to raise awareness about organ donation. ‘Donate organ, save life’ is the theme of the film. ZTCC in association with Radius Media Production and Black Horse Production will soon release the film at various national and international film festivals.

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