Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

'My father's wish to be an organ donor was a pledge to humanity'

Back row, from left: Badria Al Harmi, Saif Darwish, Mohieddin Al Bastaki. Front row, from left: Aisha Al Harmi, Ghalia Al Harmi, Hamda Darwish, Ward Al Bastaki, Nehal Al Bastaki, Reem Al Bastaki, Azza Al Ghafri. Dr Saif Darwish and his immediate and extended family are launching a campaign to support the UAE's organ donor programme. Reem Mohammed / The National 
Back row, from left: Badria Al Harmi, Saif Darwish, Mohieddin Al Bastaki. Front row, from left: Aisha Al Harmi, Ghalia Al Harmi, Hamda Darwish, Ward Al Bastaki, Nehal Al Bastaki, Reem Al Bastaki, Azza Al Ghafri. Dr Saif Darwish and his immediate and extended family are launching a campaign to support the UAE's organ donor programme. Reem Mohammed / The National 

With reference to Ruba Haza's article Emirati family launches appeal for 5,000 organ donors (October 6): 13 members of the Darwish family have pledged to donate their organs. A gesture like theirs is the highest pledge towards humanity.

As a person born and brought up in India, having spent some years in the US and now in UAE for just over a year, I wanted to share a story.

In 2002, my father donated his organs to a medical college in Kolkata, India. The rules for donation were established by then. But consent, post death, was still a big issue in India. Digital tracking was not yet an option. And the 'Organ Pledge Card' was a document in silo. It could not be located at the time of my father’s death.

Organ harvesting has to be completed within a specified time post death. I was unable to sign the consent form as it took 48 hours to reach Kolkata from Cincinnati, Ohio. So it was really difficult for my mother to ensure that my father’s wish was honoured.

This incident has been etched in my brain. I went back to the US after the rituals. During the renewal of my driving licence, I ticked the option of organ donation. My new driving license, the primary identity card in the US, clearly stated that I wished for organ donation in case of my death. This was therefore not a document in silo and could be retrieved by any authority.

In the UAE, similarly, it could be the Emirates ID, instead of the driving licence. When applying or renewing it, there could be an option to select the wish for organ donation. The community of overseas citizens can also be incentivised to donate. If the message is advertised well, the target of 5000 from your report can be achieved easily. It will be a win-win for both the organ donating and recipient families.

Sumanta Roy, Dubai

Not difficult to keep the mask on during a flight

With reference to Brodie Owen's story How one flight from the Middle East to Ireland led to 59 Covid cases (October 26): I'm not surprised. On my recent flight to the US, almost all the passengers slipped their masks under their noses after the flight took off.

Eileen Darts, Abu Dhabi

Remaining vigilant about Covid-19 can't be a choice

Regarding the report Germany plans light lockdown as France admits it has ‘lost control’ of Covid pandemic (October 26): the WHO has cautioned that leaders and nations should not give in to “pandemic fatigue” and lower their guards. This is sound advice.

Granted that people across the world are weary of restrictions like social distancing, not being able to meet friends and families freely, etc. The pandemic and lockdowns have frustrated people.

There were disturbing photographs of people in India shopping for festivals in the crowded streets without masks and without any social distancing.

There is a need to keep in mind always that by disregarding Covid-19 protocols, a person risks not just his or her life, but also the lives of family, friends and other citizens. Nobody has the right to get tired of being careful. None of us can declare a private peace with the pandemic.

Till the vaccines are finalised, restrictions on distancing should continue. We cannot risk more lives. It is alarming to note the street protests against Covid-19 restrictions in parts of Europe.

At a time when Spain has declared a six-month emergency and night-time curfews to halt a second wave of Covid-19. Italy too has decided to shut swimming pools, theatres, cinemas and gymnasiums. The US has also had a spurt in Covid-19 infections, with the number of hospitalised around 40,000 for five days at a stretch. Covid-19 cannot and should not be taken casually. We have to fight, relentlessly.

Rajendra Aneja, Dubai

Updated: October 29, 2020 11:32 AM

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