Burdened by diseases and increasing illegal organ trade, is the Indian government doing enough?
India is burdened by morbid diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes that lead to organ failure. As per medical evidence, the majority of patients, who are diagnosed with end-stage organ disease, cannot survive until a replacement therapy or organ transplant is done. Survival rate among renal failure patients beyond a few months of diagnosis has been estimated to be less than 10 per cent. Despite the piteous figure, the fact that families of brain dead people have been enrolling in the donation of organs stands out with a hopeful gleam. The donated organs belong to road traffic accident victims and are gifted to patients with no expectation of any form of compensation.
Tamil Nadu has been on the top in terms of deceased-donor organ transplantation, which is 1.3 per million population. Tamil Nadu provided over 759 major organs over the last four years. Karnataka is on the verge of making an organ donation pledge on driving licenses in a pilot scheme if the applicant wishes to do so. If the bearer has an accident, his/her family members could choose to donate his/her organs. Keeping in mind the positive effects of organ donation in Tamil Nadu, it has been observed that the efforts could be even more fruitful had the government got more involved. For instance, even though Tamil Nadu has over 53 hospitals that are licensed to conduct kidney transplants, only a minority can participate because of the lack of tertiary medical infrastructure. It is believed that stronger infrastructure with a counseling staff and adequate training is required to certify that brain death is indeed vital to increase the availability of organs for transplant and lessen the likelihood of illegal organ trade. To ensure the success of deceased donor programme, it is important that all district hospitals be fully equipped to conduct the transplants.
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