The collection includes a human heart, liver, kidney and eyeball, created from a mix of real human ashes and mud from graves.

These installations made from human ashes impart a hard-hitting message for all of us
news Organ Donation Friday, January 19, 2018 - 15:38

An estimated 5 lakh people die in India every year due to unavailability of organs that can be transplanted.

And even though public awareness has increased in recent years, the prevalence of organ donations in the country continues to be very poor.

To tackle this, MOHAN Foundation (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network), a Chennai-headquartered NGO that works to promote organ donation in the country, has come up with a unique campaign called ‘Life before Ashes’.

A set of art installations, in the form of human organs, have been created as part of the campaign to “highlight this urgency and make the public think about organ donation”.

What makes it hard-hitting is that the installations have been created from a mix of real human ashes and mud from graves.

The message is simple – “What has now become ashes could have been another person’s heart or kidney, if only the organs were donated.”

The collection includes a human heart, liver, kidney and eyeball, and is currently on display at Infinity Mall, Malad and at Apollo Hospital, Navi Mumbai. The NGO plans to take the installations to various public places in Delhi and Chennai, and to hospitals in the UK next.

“This idea stems from the insight that people are ready to allow their organs to be burnt and wasted, but they aren’t willing to let their organs give a new life to someone. The installations are meant to make people think about the need for organ donation while also urging them to sign up and become organ donors,” a note from MOHAN said.

The campaign will also spread awareness about organ donation by emphasising on the merits of organ donation, highlighting the declining number of registrations and bringing to focus the social stigma attached to organ donation in India.

Need for ethical, equitable organ donation programme

With organ donation in India continuing to be as low as 0.3 per million population, leading health experts think that there is a need for an ‘ethical and equitable’ organ donation programme in India so that the benefits could reach the truly needy.

In India, currently, less than 5,000 kidney transplants are carried out annually against an estimated requirement of over 175,000. Similarly, only 1,000 liver transplants are performed every year in a country where over 50,000 die due to end-stage liver disease, mostly related to preventable causes like Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Most of the recipients are economically well-off.

“While paid donations exploit the poor and the vulnerable, deceased donations, if not allocated in a transparent and fair manner, preferentially end up serving only the well-off. This is a serious human rights issue. We need a monitoring system which ensures that the donations are made in an ethical manner and first reach those who need it the most,” said Vivekanand Jha, a senior health expert at George Institute for Global Health – India.

According to public health experts, the interventions that are most likely to lead to large change are actions at the socio-economic level, change the context in which organ retrieval decisions are made.

With IANS inputs