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Health Minister warns hospitals against kidney racketeering

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MAKING A POINT: (From left) Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj, Minister for Health K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran and Dr. R. Swaminathan, Chairman, National Network for Organ Sharing, at the seminar in Chennai on Friday.
MAKING A POINT: (From left) Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj, Minister for Health K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran and Dr. R. Swaminathan, Chairman, National Network for Organ Sharing, at the seminar in Chennai on Friday.

Special Correspondent

Threatens to suspend their licences, initiate criminal proceedings

CHENNAI: The Health Department will suspend the licences of hospitals engaged in buying and selling of kidneys and initiate criminal action, Health Minister K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran said here on Friday.

Along with the CB CID investigation, the department was conducting its own investigation. It would look for proof to establish whether hospitals accused of facilitating sale of kidneys were guilty or not. If they were found guilty, no effort would be spared in initiating action.

Mr. Ramachandran was speaking to reporters after a consultation on `Organ Transplant in Tamil Nadu - The Future.'

"Spread awareness"

Earlier, in his concluding remarks, he laid stress on the need to spread awareness about organ donation among people. Instruction on this should be introduced at the school itself. He foresaw a big role for private-public partnership in the field of organ donation by fully utilising harvested organs.

The recommendations of the consultation would be presented to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and considered favourably, he said.

Health Secretary V.K.Subburaj said over 90 per cent of the donors in the live, unrelated donor category were poor and had sold their kidneys to settle debts. The irony was they were unable to lead a happy life later as they could not afford to take care of themselves. Most of them were unable to buy medicines after surgery.

Policy framework

P.W.C. Davidar, Special Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, said the conference aimed at tapping the best brains in the transplant scenario to evolve a policy framework that would not allow organ trade.

Sunil Shroff, managing trustee, MOHAN Foundation, said some of the suggestions that had emerged during the meeting could be implemented. Welcoming the thrust on cadaveric organ donations, he said Tamil Nadu had a good track record, having done 300 of the 1200 cadaveric transplantation in the country. R. Swaminathan, chairman, National Network for Organ Sharing, said the issue of organ donation was riddled with medico-legal problems. Unless a network of hospitals and institutions was established, the programme cannot be carried out on a sustainable basis.

He said one would have to arrive at a consensual operational framework to facilitate organ sharing in the State.

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