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New Delhi : Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on November 27, 2020, chaired multiple events to mark National Organ Donation Day. Dr Vardhan addressed CRPF jawans at an event to mark the culmination of a massive voluntary campaign that was launched by CRPF on August 14, 2020, to create  awareness about organ donation among its nearly three and a half lakh jawans in collaboration with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, and Organ Retrieval Banking Organization (ORBO).

Stating that the positive message of the drive organised by CRPF will trickle down till the last jawan, he noted that 79,572  soldiers, who have been honoured by CRPF as ‘Angadan warriors’, have duly filled their pledge forms to donate their eyes, skin, lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, heart valves, and intestines, after death. “They exemplify the spirit of service to the nation even after death,” he added.

Dr Vardhan said, “In our country, a large number of people die due to non-functioning of organs. According to the National Health Portal, about 5 lakh people die every year due to non-availability of organs. I also want to say here that no age, caste, religion, community, belief should ever come as an obstacle in a task as divine as that of donating organs. If a person below 18 years of age wishes to donate organ, he can do so with the consent of his parents or guardian. The goal of this campaign is to remove the fear of organ donation by spreading awareness through webinars, seminars, and workshops and aiming at the root of the problem by granting acceptance to organ donation.”

The Minister congratulated the CRPF on their exemplary service in dealing with the problem of terrorism and separatism in Jammu and Kashmir, insurgency in the north-eastern states, the Left-Wing Extremists in Central India and for conducting State and National elections impartially and efficiently, according to a PIB release.

Dr A P Maheshwari, Director General CRPF, Dr Randeep Singh Guleria, Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi, Dr. (Prof.) Aarti Vij, Chief, Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), attended the CRPF event through Video Conference.   Bharat Bhushan Vaid, DIG CRPF, was also present at the event.

Later in the day, The National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), mandated under the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011 to carry out activities for promotion of organ donation from deceased persons, putting systems in place for organ donation and transplantation and training the necessary manpower and personnel, celebrated the 11th National Organ Donation Day in the presence of Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.

Congratulating NOTTO at national level, the Regional Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisations (ROTTO) at regional level, and the State Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisations (SOTTO) at state level, for setting up network among hospitals and tissue banks for procurement and sharing of organs obtained from the deceased donors and their timely allocation, Dr Vardhan said, “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has set up 5 ROTTOs in Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Guwahati, to cover North, East, West, South and North-Eastern regions of the country respectively. In addition to these, 12 SOTTOs have been established in the States of Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Odisha, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Jharkhand.”

Dr Vardhan said, “With 12,666 organs transplanted in 2019, India ranked third in the world as per data available on the WHO Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation (GODT) website. He mentioned that the National Organ Transplant Programme (NOTP) provides financial grants for establishing ROTTOs and SOTTOs, to develop new and upgrade existing retrieval and transplant centres, to set up regional and State biomaterial centres and to provide immunosuppressive therapy to Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients who have undergone organ transplantation in a Government hospital.

ROTTO (West) was judged the best ROTTO in the country while the Tamil Nadu SOTTO was awarded the best State SOTTO. Tamil Nadu performed a whooping 295 transplantations  of which 76 were lung transplants performed mostly on patients who suffered acute forms of COVID. PGIMER, Chandigarh, was judged the best hospital.