It seemed like the end of the world when their 13 year old son Shekhar Naidu died in a road accident a year and a half ago.
But the family immediately took a decision to donate his eyes and today an eight year old girl and a 40 year old soldier in Kashmir are able to see through Shekhar’s eyes.
Since then Shekhar’s father Sanjay Naidu decided to set up a foundation and has listed 1400 persons who have pledged their eyes.
Now a similar effort is being done where the Shekhar Naidu memorial foundation has tied up with the regional transport officer (RTO) to encourage organ donation.
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The RTO has decided to set up a health cell where people coming to get learner’s licenses will be invited to undergo an eye check up and blood test. The Naidu foundation will also prepare organ donor cards and encourage citizens to pledge their organs.
World Organ Donation day is on August 6 and while several NGOs are working to create awareness, the RTO’s effort is a unique one to encourage organ donation.
Anil Valiv, deputy RTO, says, “At least 300 persons come daily to give tests for obtaining a learner’s license. Setting up a health cell at the RTO will also create awareness about organ donation,” he added. Valiv is also involved in promoting marriages between HIV positive persons and has encouraged over 500 to do so on his matrimonial website positivesaathi.com.
Naidu, who lost his son in an accident, also had to deal with burn injuries for his adopted daughter Sonakshi. At the tender age of one and a half years, doctors at Command hospital had to take out the skin from her head – almost 10 cms- to then graft it on the right side of her face which had got burnt in another accident.
“Then I realised that there were very few skin donors as well and the whole concept of organ donation awareness was taken up by our foundation,” said Naidu.
According to Dr Arati Gokhale, coordinator of the Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre, Pune, this year there were six cadavers that were donated out of which 12 kidneys and four livers were donated.
Last year out of the eight cadavers, donated a total of 13 patients got kidneys while eight patients where given a liver each. While the number of transplants are increasing, the waiting list of the patients is also rising. In Pune, the waiting list of patients for kidneys is 170 while 50 patients want a liver, says Gokhale.