Gurgaon resident Anika Parashar has created the country’s first organ transplant guide to help patients seeking an organ donor with details of hospitals, doctors and coordinators.
The transplant guide, available on www.organindia.org, enlists information on 150 hospitals in 45 cities across the country.
After the patient selects the preferred city and the organ, a drop down menu shows a list of hospitals offering transplants in the area. Once the hospital is selected, the contact details such as phone numbers and address of the institute appear. The website also gives a list of specialised doctors with their contact numbers.
“We wanted to create an organised hub of hospitals offering transplants for patients and their families. There was no one place where the recipients could access the knowledge required. The guide was created two months back and is available only on the website,” Anika Parashar of the Organ Receiving and Giving Awareness Network (ORGAN) India, said.
Through ORGAN, which is a three-year-old organisation, Parashar collected the information required for the directory. Various other NGOs and government organisations helped in collecting the data, Parashar said.
The directory also provides information about nearby medical shops, ambulance services, blood banks, accommodations and taxi operators. The guide even circles grocery stores and restaurants around hospitals.
“When a person undergoes the transplant in a different city, it is difficult to find places to live or even buy medicines and food. The guide helps them through. It is a one-stop destination for all necessary information that the family requires,” Parashar said.
The idea of the transplant guide stems out of Parashar’s own hardships when her 60-year-old mother had a heart transplant two and a half years ago. Her mother had a heart disease — cardiomyopathy — and the doctors suggested an organ transplant. Though she was reluctant, Parashar’s mother eventually agreed for the operation. However, the family did not know how to find a donor .
“My mother did not initially agree to a transplant but later she agreed to be operated in India. We were excited but worried. After weeks of researches and hospital visits, we decided to take her to Chennai,” Parashar said.
Describing their months in Chennai, Parashar said that it was very difficult to find even the basic things such as milk, tea and medicines. One night, the doctors asked Parashar to get medicines, but because of the language barrier and unfamiliar surroundings, it took her hours to find a medical store.
“We faced difficulties in finding everything from medicines to food. The motivation behind including such details in the directory was our personal experience with unfamiliar environment,” Parashar said.
After waiting for six months and two false alarms, Parashar’s mother finally found a match. In a three-hour-long surgery, her mother got a new life.
Parashar, with her continuous efforts to spread awareness about organ donation, has helped over 5,000 people pledge their organs with various organisations, including the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO). Several awareness camps are also organised at schools and corporate firms. Recently, an awareness session was conducted in AkzoNobel Paint Company in Gurgaon, DLF Phase 3.
“It is important that people understand and acknowledge organ donations. We need to have stronger laws that allow everyone to donate safely,” Parashar said.