Exclusive Interview With ‘Woman Achiever Award Winner’ Dr. Sumana Navin

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need to celebrate International Women’s Day is brought about by the need to
bring equality into the workspace, where women are given the same opportunity
as men and paid the same salaries. As a part of the Women’s Day Celebration,
the 61

session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) which will meet at The
UN Headquarters will discuss on “Women’s Economic
Empowerment in the Changing World of Work,” from 13 – 24 March 2017.

‘‘Women need a supportive workplace that will help them grow’, Dr. Sumana Navin speaking exclusively to Medindia on International Women’s Day.’

Achieving Planet 50:50

key targets proposed by the UN are

  • All boys and
    girls should have access to primary and secondary education
  • There should be
    an end to discrimination against girls and women
  • There should be
    elimination of violence against women at home as well as in the public
  • Harmful practices
    like genital mutilation and child marriage should be stopped

women’s day is about raising awareness about gender equality at the workspace,
encouraging women to pursue a career which will give them economic freedom and
help support their family.

this regard, Medindia carried out an exclusive interview with Dr. Sumana Navin, who is the Course Director at Mohan Foundation, a
well-known organization committed to the cause of organ
. Dr. Sumana is busy delivering lectures across the country,
educating healthcare professionals about organ donation and transplantation,
and training transplant co-ordinators. She developed the course content for the
Transplant Coordinators’ Training
and is the editor for the Indian
Transplant Newsletter
. Some of her achievements include:

Dr. Sumana Navin

  • Being invited by
    the Society of Organ Transplantation, Bangladesh, to conduct the first-ever
    transplant coordinators’ training programme (2014). 
  • She received the
    Best Abstract Award at the Congress of the Asian Society of
    Transplantation for her paper titled ‘Impact of Trained Transplant
    Coordinators on the Deceased Donation Transplantation Programme in India’
    held in August 2015 in Singapore.
  • She was invited
    by the NHS Blood and Transplant, UK at the Deceased Donation Course for
    Intensive Care Medicine trainees as an observer in February 2016.
  • Training 1416
    transplant coordinators over a period of 7 years.

a recognition of her service to society in driving the selfless act of organ
donation and inspiring thousands of women, Dr. Sumana Navin was felicitated by
the ‘Inner Wheels’ faction of the ‘Rotary Club’ with a ‘Women Achiever Award’
(March 8th 2017). Here are the excerpts of our interview with Dr.

Congratulations Doctor on receiving the award. What drove you to choose this
career path?

Dr. Sumana:
Thank you.There is always the general belief that there is a lack of humanity in our
society but I choose to differ. It is heartwarming to see relatives of deceased
patients coming forward in a truly selfless act to donate their organs. In a
moment of utter grief, they choose to bring light and life to another family,
the moment is special and this is what has kept me in this field for so many

What are the initial steps towards organ donation?

Dr. Sumana:
Organ donation should ideally start with blood donation. Once a person donates
blood and realizes the importance of saving lives, the seed of organ donation
is implanted. This takes me back to my college days when my professor told me
that I should donate blood on my birthday. Birthdays are when everyone wishes
you and gives you plenty of gifts, so that would be the ideal day to give
something back to the society. This way it cuts out the grief of the patient
and will encourage other people to donate too.

someone donates blood, then, in the unfortunate event of an unexpected death,
the family will be more tuned to donating the organs of the deceased. This
simple act could indicate to family members about the intention of the deceased
towards organ donation. There is an urgent need to ‘start the conversation’, an
ongoing debate would help create awareness and motivate people to think. This
way, it will no longer be an alien topic.

should begin by donating blood on their birthday, and then pledge their eyes
and then organs for donation.

Who has been your most inspiring support through your journey this far?

Dr. Sumana:
The families of the deceased donors have kept me rooted in the cause of organ
donation. There are also recipients who have made a remarkable contribution to
society as a way of thanksgiving for the gift of life that they received. In
this regard, I would like to mention the Late Mrs. Malathi Venkatesan, Trustee
of MOHAN Foundation and TANKER Foundation who inspired me with her indomitable
spirit and courage. Dr. Shroff is another important person who has been a
constant source of support and encouragement.

What are some of your most treasured moments over the years?

Dr. Sumana:
There are many moments that I hold dear, over the years. One of them is the
story of Ms. Suchitra way back in 1998, when the idea of organ donation was
still very nascent in India. Suchitra was 18-years-old and her brother was only 15 years, they lost their parents in a
road accident but they still took the bold step to donate their parents’
organs. Another moving incident is about a mother, Rama, who could look past
the grief of her daughter’s death, to bring light to seven lives. Rama’s
daughter was only 13-years-old when a sudden bleeding in the brain took her daughter away from

is this ability of people to hold onto their pain and yet relieve that of many
others by donating the organs of their dear departed ones, which has continued
to encourage me to believe in the wonderful society we all are a part of.

In view of Women’s Day, what are the challenges
faced by women in the workplace?

Dr. Sumana:
Being a doctor and working for a non-profit organization, I have been in a
supportive environment. However, I believe that women should be provided with
the right reinforcement at work. They should be given the option of flexible
timings and the opportunity to work from home. Moreover, safe child care
facilities should be provided at work.

should be fixed targets that they could stick to, which will aid in
facilitating accountability. There will be times when her children demand extra
time but she should not be penalized for that, instead she should be given the
necessary encouragement.

Thank You doctor for your time and we hope you continue to grow in eminence.

References :

  1. Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030(http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2017/2/statement-ed-phumzile-iwd-2017)
  2. 2017 Theme: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”(http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/)

Source: Medindia

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