Special Correspondent

Live-related and cadaver transplants would be the key in future: Health Minister

  • Coordinating organisation to facilitate transplantation
  • Changes to promote cadaveric transplantation

    CHENNAI: The State government will consider a recommendation to remove the `love and affection' clause in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act that permits unrelated persons to donate kidneys, Health Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran announced on Friday. Allowing for live, unrelated donors of organs was the prime cause for the recently exposed `kidney racket' in Chennai, he added.

    Speaking at the conclusion of a day-long consultation on `Organ Transplant in Tamil Nadu - The Future' organised in Chennai, he indicated that live-related and cadaver transplants would be the key in future.

    Specialists involved in the process of organ transplantation evolved a broad policy framework for the state, at the meeting jointly organised by the Health Department and the National Network for Organ Sharing. Other key recommendations that were made during the day included establishing a quasi-government coordinating organisation to facilitate organ transplantation throughout Tamil Nadu, promoting cadaver transplantation in a big way, setting up of a Tamil Nadu State Organ Registry and conducting health audits on transplantation outcomes periodically.

    The participants split into four groups to discuss threadbare all aspects of four significant areas in organ donation `Live donors'; `Transplantation formalities'; `Cadaver transplants' and `Coordinating organisation.' Experts debated the merits of the Iranian pay model, its feasibility in India, providing health and life insurance to donors or their families, possibility of allowing paired-donor exchange programmes and providing haemodialysis to those opting to enroll in the Government organ registry during the waiting period.

    A strong recommendation that came forth during the meeting, the first ever sponsored by the State, was to make changes in the law in order to promote cadaveric transplantation. It was concluded that the definition of personnel authorised to certify brain death would have to be spelt out and post-mortems would have to be allowed beyond dusk. In medico-legal cases, the inspector at the local police outpost could officiate as inquest officer to speed up cadaveric organ harvesting.

    Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj said 48 hospitals had been approved to undertake organ transplantation in Tamil Nadu and between 650 and 700 donations (live, unrelated) were approved by the Authorisation Committee annually.

    However, with statistics indicating that one in every 1000 people suffer from kidney disease, the supply would never be able to meet the demand, he added.

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