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Body Of Boy Killed In Ukraine Donated For Cause He Believed In

It has been 26 days to the Ukraine war. In its latest update on civilian casualties in Ukraine due to the war, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported that from February 24 to March 19, 2,361 civilian casualties have been recorded — 902 killed and 1,459 injured. As the UN… Continue reading Body Of Boy Killed In Ukraine Donated For Cause He Believed In

It has been 26 days to the Ukraine war. In its latest update on civilian casualties in Ukraine due to the war, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported that from February 24 to March 19, 2,361 civilian casualties have been recorded — 902 killed and 1,459 injured. As the UN agency puts out only numbers of verified deaths, the real number could be higher. Ten million people — about one-quarter of the population — have now fled their homes in Ukraine due to Russia’s unprovoked war, the United Nations refugee chief said on March 20. 

According to UNHCR figures, more than 3.4 million Ukrainians, mostly women, and children have left their country since the Russian invasion began on February 24. The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said more than 1.5 million children are among those who have fled abroad. 

This is a war that is bound to have serious repercussions across the globe —geopolitically, economically, and most importantly, emotionally. But like they say: hope springs eternal. From those who have been seriously impacted by this terrible war but yet keep the faith that this life, even if it caused death, is worth living.  

This is our tribute to Naveen Shekharppa Gyanagouder. Our respects to his parents and family who may have lost a son, but decided to DONATE HIS BODY TO A MEDICAL COLLEGE  in the hope that it helps in furthering what Naveen set out to do— strengthen medical research.

There are an estimated 18,000 Indian students studying in different parts of Ukraine and mostly in medical and engineering. Even as we pay our tributes to Naveen, that one question shall always haunt me and many amongst us—what if Naveen had opted to stay back in India to pursue his studies? Why did he go to Ukraine and is now dead? This kind of regret in hindsight is bound to occur, but then Ukraine happens to be one of the favorite destinations for our students wanting to be doctors because — Ukrainian medical colleges are a boon for Indian students who struggle to secure seats in Indian government colleges.

Also, Indian students opting to study medicine in Ukraine have yet another advantage and that is that they aren’t required to clear any entrance test to get admission into medical universities.  In India, there are a total of 44,555 MBBS seats offered by 302 government medical colleges for students to get admission through the NEET-UG Entrance exam.   

Naveen Gyanagouder who died on 1 March was from Chalageri in Karnataka and it is a fact that until 28th February 2021, 25,672 out of 71,769 students who moved to foreign shores were from South India– 11790 students from Andhra Pradesh, 5040 students from Kerala, 4355 students from Tamil Nadu, 311 students from Telangana, and 4176 students from Karnataka.  

On that fateful day, the 21-year-old fourth-year medical student in Kharkhiv decided to do what most would shudder to—he along with several of his classmates and friends had taken shelter in a bunker when both food and money ran out. Nobody perhaps dared to leave the safe environs of a bunker and venture out to buy food for those who were scared, tired, and hungry on 2 march. Naveen decided to volunteer and he walked up to the streets of Kharkhiv—the skies were rent with smoke; warning sirens blared; there was continuous shelling. Naveen Gyanagouder had made up his mind and walked towards a queue of people who were in line to buy food. He also was thinking of withdrawing some money. The location was the Governor’s house in Kharkhiv. Suddenly there was an airstrike that blew up the governor’s house and Naveen died. Just like that, waiting to buy food.  

His home in Chalageri, district Haveri, fell into the gloom. Initially, Naveen’s father Shekharappa Gyanadouder did what any parents would do—why doesn’t India have enough affordable medical colleges? Why didn’t the Indian embassy help his son evacuate in time from Kharkhiv? But it changed even as days passed—he said, my son is gone, but let us bring back other students safely from Ukraine. It changed even more as Naveen’s brother, Harsha appealed to the Indian government that even as bringing back his brother’s mortal remains was a priority, the safety of other Indian students was most important.  

Naveen’s body reached Bengaluru on Emirates flight number EK0568. His father, who is a retired paper mill employee in Haveri district, made an announcement—after performing the last rites, the body of their son, Naveen shall be donated to the S. S. Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Davanagere in Karnataka.

Shekharapppa Gyanagouder told the media: “We are a bit relieved now. We were not sure whether we will be able to see his face one last time. But, thanks to the efforts by the Union and State governments, we can see him one last time. We will perform pooja on his body in our home and then donate it to the medical college.” 

He also added: “My son wanted to achieve something in the medical field. That is why we have decided at home that his body can be used by other medical students for studies and help our country.” 

What does body donation mean? 

Body donation or Deh Daan is the donating of a body for carrying out medical research and studies. A cadaver helps students of medicine to understand several aspects of the human anatomy. An extremely important aspect of medical education, a body helps surgeons, dentists, and also physicians to discover new methods of saving lives.  

How does one donate his or her body? 

Any person wishing to donate his body after death can approach any local hospital, medical college, or NGO expressing his or her wish to donate the body post-death. He or she may sign a consent form, which is not mandatory. However, it is helpful if anyone wishing to donate his or her body takes the family into confidence, so that the donation of the body becomes an easy process.  

That brings us also to the other aspect of organ transplant in India.  

In 1994, the Government of India enacted the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994 to promote deceased organ donation. In 2008, India was stunned by a multi-billion rupee kidney scandal and a law was enacted in 2011 to circumvent illegal organ trading. 

How does organ donation work for the deceased? 

Those who are deceased can donate six life-saving organs: kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, and intestine. Organs and tissues from a person declared legally dead can be donated after consent from the family has been obtained. Uterus transplant is also performed, but it is not regarded as a life-saving organ. 

Where does India stand in deceased organ transplants? 

The data is not very encouraging. As per numbers collated in 2019, India’s deceased donation rate is around 0.34 per million population, much lower than developed nations. The reasons are several—lack of awareness; superstition and low literacy rate which makes many reluctant to donate organs.  

But yet again, the South Indian states perform well in comparison t the north as most of the deceased donation programs have been developed in the southern states. If we have to improve the overall deceased organ donations in the country then what we must know is that the highest number of brain death is 80,000 due to road accidents every year. If the country’s donation rate were to be improved to 1 per million population, it would satisfy the country’s organ requirement completely.

What is the status of organ transplants in Karnataka? 

According to the latest estimates, there are 5,056 patients listed for organs transplant. Out of this, 3,756 patients require kidneys, and this is followed by 1,084 patients who need liver transplantation. What is encouraging is Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has registered himself as an organ donor. 

The 21-year-old Naveen Gyanagouder may give a life to many in Karnataka as his family has pledged that his body is donated to a medical college—someone may breath better; someone may see for the first time, and what this means is that Naveen isn’t dead. He shall live through many and for years to come.