Dr Kola Olawale, a cardiologist, has pleaded with Nigerians to donate human organs to save the lives of the sick in need of such organs.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja that donation of organs of late loved ones amounted to acts of kindness and should be practised among Nigerians.
According to him, it is an honourable act of kindness that will save lives and bring about peace of mind to the donor’s family.
“I have been in practice for a long time and I have had many patients come to me for treatment only to find out that their heart has to be replaced.
“It is worse in Nigeria because we do not actually have such a system and due to religious and traditional reasons, some people see donating and receiving organs as an abomination.
“I have heard people say that they cannot donate their organs because they have to return to God the same way they came to earth.
“Fact is that our bodies will decay in the soil and it will be a waste of vital cells, instead of wasting the cells, we should celebrate our loved ones by donating their organs to save the life of another individual,’’ he said.
Kenneth Azubuike, a medical doctor also shared the same sentiment and urged the Federal Government to raise awareness on the importance of organ donation.
“Blood donation was an issue in Nigeria about 10 years ago and due to the low level of awareness, fewer clinics had the equipment required to screen blood, so we could not effectively promote blood donation.
“People believe it is safer to take blood only from their family members and many Nigerians have superstitious beliefs that made them avoid receiving or donating blood.
“With the help of the Federal Government, those misconceptions related to blood donation have been corrected. Many people now donate blood on their own accord and many Nigerians are aware of the personal benefits of blood donation.
“This same approach should be adopted to change the ideology behind organ donation in Nigeria.
“In spite of our traditional beliefs, we have to understand that organ donation saves lives and by donating we can be saving our own lives. I believe that if this is adapted as a norm in Nigeria, we will become happier and more peaceful people,’’ he said.
Joyce Effiom, a gynaecologist told NAN that she had celebrated the life of her son by donating his heart and kidneys and this made her a happier person.
“When my son was 15 years old, he had an accident, he was rushed to the hospital and the doctor declared him brain dead. I wept so hard because I have to bury my baby, but we then learnt that a girl on his hospital floor had two bad kidneys.
“My husband and I decided to ask the doctors to check my son’s compatibility with the girl, and miraculously, they matched. We gave her the kidneys and donated his heart for research, but we were informed a few days later that someone received his heart.
“We went to visit the recipient that very day and once I saw him, I began crying because I knew a part of my son lived on in someone else. I think those donations helped me grieve and heal quickly because I will always see my son in those children.
“Those children will grow to become great people because they have a part of a great human being in them, my son is and will always be remembered as a hero and that makes me very proud and happy,’’ she said.