Transplants - Help the Poor Foundation is focussed on saving the lives of the poor by making organ transplant treatment an option that is within their reach.
Nearly three lakh poverty-stricken families and people in India lose their lives year after year because they cannot afford an organ transplant.
This life-saving option, ranging anywhere between Rs 20 and 25 lakh for the most sought-after liver or heart transplant and Rs 5 and 8 lakh for a kidney transplant, has turned into a route that only the elite can tread.
On the other hand, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 0.01 percent people in India donate their organs after death, as compared to the 80 percent of individuals who agree to organ donation all over the Western world. This wide gap further diminishes the chances of a poor child or an underprivileged elderly person in need of a transplant surviving in our nation.
Recognising this real need, Transplants - Help the Poor Foundation has laid out two clear objectives to bring in visible change.
By providing financial help to the weaker sections in need of a transplant and with constant promotion and awareness on organ donation, they wish to reduce this immense gap between the demand and availability of donated organs for transplants and also its possibility in the lives of the marginalised.
When five determined Mumbaikars came together
Not set up very long ago, Transplants - Help the Poor Foundation was registered with the Charities Commissioner, Mumbai in March 2017 after five Mumbaikars from various fields joined hands for the sole purpose of enabling organ transplants.
Sharing what inspired the establishment of Transplants, 80-year-old C.Y. Pal, Co-founder and one of the five Trustees says,
My wife had a liver transplant in 1996 in the UK, at the age of 53 and lived for 20 years thereafter. The power of this treatment is life-changing and its absence in our country, primarily among the poor, motivated me to start Transplants.
"I was fortunate to get a lot of support and help for this initiative from our team and Dr Darius Mirza, renowned liver transplant surgeon, and today one of the important trustees of the Foundation. His expertise has been indispensable," he adds.
Transplants has already begun activities, and in the past six months has financially helped four individuals, two of whom were children with successful organ transplants. The foundation is also in the process of scaling their activities with a target of helping 200 poor people financially in 2018.
The aim to reach out to all
To achieve their first mission of providing financial help to the poor, Transplants is tapping at various organisations and the corporate sectors, collecting and raising funds through their CSR activities. Also finding a way to bring the message to the masses, the team has been conducting meetings with Rotary Clubs in Mumbai every month and has managed to connect with hundreds of individuals associated with philanthropic activities to support the cause and help the poor get equal access to organ transplantation.
Their next objective is to promote organ donation, without which a transplant is almost impossible according to Pal.
We have recently signed an MoU with a well-known organisation known for promoting organ donation. The joint initiative has been launched with an endeavour to promote and counsel families on altruistic deceased organ donation, he adds.
Under this association, Transplants has launched its programme called JEET (Joint Effort to Enable Transplants), that is focussed on working with all other NGOs in the same space making it easier to reach out to organ recipients.
“We plan through our joint effort, to have a number of transplant coordinators, located in various hospitals, to help in doing the sensitive job of promoting organ donation by gently persuading the family of the deceased to join in the noble cause of donating organs,” says Pal. “Once a family agrees, the job of the coordinator is to connect with patients waiting in different hospitals for a transplant,” he adds.
Up until now, Transplants has had one coordinator who has helped transform four lives. In the coming six- eight months the team is eyeing recruitment of nearly 30 transplant coordinators, especially to public hospitals to help increase awareness on the subject.
The real impact is yet to come because we are new, but we are sure about achieving great success because all our trustees are known professionals and we are fortunate to have enormous medical knowledge in this space with Darius Mirza part of the team. Presently, we are looking for a transplant for a 58-year-old sweeper and are leaving no stone unturned to find him a donor, says Pal.
Continuing the noble work they’re doing, Transplants wants to become a national organisation providing financial support for transplant assessment, surgery, hospitalisation and medicines to the poor and continue improving education and awareness on both cadaver as well as live donation in the future.