Marred by fears and a low understanding of the process, only 24 per cent Indians expressed their willingness to donate organs after death, with just 3 per cent have registered their intent with the relevant authority, as per a recent study conducted by Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance.
The research for Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, in association with Karvy Insights, shows that 80 per cent of the 1565 respondents who participated are aware of the concept of organ donation, 67 per cent believe it to be important, but only 35 per cent understand the process of how to donate their organs.
In this context, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance will observe November as Organ Donation Awareness Month. The insurer will be organising a campaign to inform, educate and mobilise support to increase public awareness for the cause. In association with MOHAN Foundation, an NGO active in this space, the insurer will conduct educative workshops and create a platform for people to know more about the process of organ donation and also pledge their organs. It has also joined hands with actor Rahul Bose to endorse the importance of this cause.
Commenting on the initiative, Sumit Rai, MD & CEO, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance said, “In our journey of protecting the dreams and aspirations of our customers, we have gained significant insights that led us to the issue of scarcity in donating of organs. We believe organ donation can make a positive impact on people’s lives and so, it is crucial that companies like us extend their support to this cause. This research equips us to carry out meaningful awareness on the subject, enabling people to make an informed decision.”
Rashesh Shah, Chairman & CEO, Edelweiss Group said, “As a responsible corporate citizen of this community, it is paramount that we do more and fulfil our potential of enabling change across communities. Along with Edelweiss Tokio Life, employees of Edelweiss Group will also commit to organ donation and this initiative is a testimony of our commitment to an important social cause.”
While several concerns affect the decision-making process of organ donation, ‘family’ emerged as the biggest deterrent to an individual donating his organs. About 45 per cent of respondents believe that their family would not allow them to pledge their organs, with some showing apprehensions over even broaching this subject with them. As many as 40% of the respondents were worried that if they agreed to donate their organs, the process might become a hassle for the family, during an already vulnerable situation.
Several other barriers like low trust and lack of transparency also came to the fore. Over 45 per cent of the respondents said that organ donation is a scam, fearing that hospitals might procure more organs than pledged.
Barring eyes, kidney, heart, and liver, most people are also unaware of what organs and tissues can be donated. Over 25 per cent also believed that organs can also be donated when in a coma. While the option to donate organs in a comatose state does exist, an individual in the coma is not automatically considered eligible for donation, as there are chances of reversal or recovery and as this does not qualify as cardiac or brain death. Fear of denigration of the body and worries over having no option to back out once registered, also affected people’s decision-making process.