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Updated: January 28, 2013 00:01 IST

A costly ‘lifeline’ this

M. Sai Gopal
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Jeevandan has been reduced to a scheme meant for patients who can afford costly transplantation in private hospitals

Jeevandan, which was launched amid much fanfare to create a large pool of organs of deceased donors and allot them among deserving patients, has been reduced to a scheme meant for patients who can afford costly transplantation in private hospitals.

It also appears that there is no solution in sight for the poor needing organ transplantation as the Government teaching hospitals in the city -- Gandhi Hospital and Osmania General Hospital (OGH) -- are not in a position to perform such surgeries.

Unlike Tamil Nadu, there is no Government-sponsored programme for deceased or cadaver donor organ transplantation in A.P. to cover the costs incurred during transplantation on poor patients. The Arogyasri scheme provides insurance worth Rs. 1.4 lakh only for live or related organ transplantation and not for deceased organ transplantation.

Finance crunch

In addition to lack of financial support, the Government tertiary hospitals also suffer due to lack of a robust and evolved organ transplantation protocols, expertise and infrastructure. The tertiary hospitals are far from attempting any such transplant surgeries in the near future, senior doctors agree.

The OGH, in the last two decades, has managed to conduct 420 living-related kidney transplantations on patients. When it comes to deceased organ transplantation, the OGH surgeons are helpless because the procedure is not covered under Arogyasri.

“Deceased donor transplants require special induction therapy to prevent the donor’s body from rejecting the graft. This therapy alone costs Rs. 2 lakh and poor patients cannot afford it,” says Head, Nephrology, OGH, Dr. Manisha Sahay.

The OGH Superintendent has written letters to health officials seeking clarification on this but the authorities are yet to take a decision.

While the OGH has separate operation theatres, surgeons and other medical staff, Gandhi Hospital is in the process of forming a team. “We are planning to rope in surgeons from private hospitals. Unlike private hospitals, transplant surgeries have not evolved in Government hospitals,” says Dr. Pradeep Deshpande, senior Nephrologist, Gandhi Hospital.

Meanwhile, OGH has decided to send its doctors to Chennai to study the successful transplant surgeries at Government hospitals there. “Our doctors will interact with surgeons of the state-run Stanley Medical College and Madras Medical College. We are also studying the existing transplantation surgery models at PGI Chandigarh and CMC Vellore,” Dr. Sahay pointed out.

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