India suffers from organ donation deficiency

At 10,000 per million population, organ donation rate much lower than demand


Sonal Matharu | April 1, 2010

More than 25,000 donors are needed for 1,000,000 transplants of various organs every year in India but the number of donors is abysmally low despite the Human Organ Transplant Act in place in India. Board of management chairman at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Dr. B.K. Rao said at a conference here on Wednesday.

“Only 110 donors volunteered in 2009 and the requirement of organs is very high. We have to operate on live donors in most cases which is a complex procedure and is more expensive. We face a bottleneck, we can do much more than what we are doing now,” he said.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital has become the first hospital in South Asia to complete over 540 liver transplants from 2001 to 2009, with a success rate of over 95 percent, out of which 40 were for acute liver failure.

Chairman, liver transplantation, Dr. A.S. Soin, said that there is a need to increase organ donations of the deceased persons. He added that a brain dead person is dead in legal terms. Never in the history of medical sciences has a brain dead person recovered. If the other organs of a brain dead person are functioning, these can be donated by the family which can save many lives.

“In 1994, after the Act was passed, it outlawed the paid donors and recognized brain death. But unfortunately, this failed to encourage people to donate organs of the deceased even after 16 years of its implementation,” said Dr. S. Nundy, chairman, surgical gastroenterology.

The hospital has also catered to many foreign patients from Nigeria, Pakistan, Netherlands, South Africa and America. It, however, has no provisions to provide free organ transplant treatment to the socially backward in India.

“We do have over 100 beds especially for poor patients but we can do transplants on them only if they are supported by some NGOs or they get donations,” said Dr. Sanjiv Saigal, chief transplant hepatologist.

Each liver transplant costs between Rs.17 to 25 lakh.




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