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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 10.01.2014

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee launched a campaign for donation of posthumous human bodies, organs and tissues today (January 10, 2014) at Kolkata.

The campaign being undertaken on the occasion of the 178th anniversary of the first dissection of human cadaver in Asia in the Medical College of Calcutta by Dr. Madhusudan Gupta is being organized by Ganadarpan, an NGO engaged in promotion of rational and scientific temper with the collaboration of the Health Department of the West Bengal government, University of Calcutta and National Council of Science Museums.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said India lags behind many countries in terms of organ donation rates. Spain, with 35 organ donors for every one million people, has the highest donation rate in the world. The US, at 26 donors per million, and the UK, at 13 donors per million, also have high donation rates. In comparison, India has a rate of less than 0.2 donors per one million population. India suffers from organs shortage of gigantic proportions. An estimated two lakh people in our country are diagnosed with organ failure every year, needing transplantation as a life saving mechanism. 34 organs and tissues can be harvested from a brain-dead donor. The number of brain-dead donors in India, at 196 in 2012 – the highest in a year so far - is woefully short to meet the demands for transplantation.

The President said there is a need to encourage pledges for donation of posthumous bodies, organs and tissues among the people and increase awareness and dispel myths about this unique deed. There is also a need to sensitize the public, particularly those desirous of pledging to donate posthumously and those wanting transplantation, about following the due procedures as per law.

The President lamented the fact that many people in India still believed in superstitions and evil social practices. He complimented Ganadarpan for the excellent work being done by its members to promote rational thinking, enhance frontiers of medical knowledge and give new lease of life to patients diagnosed with organ failure.

Participants at the function included persons who pledged their body for medical research and recipients of organs.

This release issued at 1815 hrs