Huge scope for organ donation in India

Hyderabad: Amita, 35 (name changed on request), has been waiting for her turn for a kidney transplant and with each passing day, the pain of waiting for the call from Jeevandan, the authority for cadaver transplantation, gets longer. The waiting period for a heart, liver and pancreas and lungs is two years and there are 5,000 persons waiting with bated breath. Among them 2,500 are waiting for kidney and another 2,500 for liver transplantation.

Speaking to The Hans India, Dr Swarnalatha, nephrologist and in-charge for Jeevandan, said, “Only 10 per cent of the brain dead are being captured, identified and declared. There are multiple issues. There is a lack of awareness among doctors at the peripheral level, many are apprehensive and do not want to get involved in a medico-legal case and the mechanism to get the consent from relatives of a brain dead person too needs to become stronger.”

Presently, 28 hospitals are empanelled with Jeevandan out of which three are government hospitals including Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital and NIMS. Doctors say that there is a need to sensitise all stake holders and also the common man. Dr Swarnalatha says that a proposal was sent to the government to establish retrieval centres in all the districts and a few awareness programmes were held the Government Hospital in Warangal.

All transplants are covered under Arogyasri in government hospitals but due to the long waiting period, many patients die by the time their turn comes. A liver transplant in a private hospital can cost anywhere from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh depending on the age and condition of the patient. A kidney transplant could cost between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 30 lakh and a heart transplant Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh Rajeev, a resident of Madinaguda who has been waiting for a donor for kidney transplantation says, “Poor have no chance as the cost is too high in private hospitals.”

Since 2013 when the Jeevandan programme was launched, 2,402 organs and tissues have been transplanted. Till date, 4,728 recipients benefited by the programme. Officials at Jeevandan say that the number could easily have been manifold if only the conversion rate and capturing of brain dead patients increases.

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