‘Lack of awareness on organ donation’

Updated - March 28, 2015 05:54 am IST

Published - March 28, 2015 12:00 am IST - VIJAYAWADA:

Two decades after the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA) came into existence, there is no significant rise in the number of cadaver organ transplantations mainly because of lack of awareness about donation of organs of brain-dead persons.

It was in 1994 that the Central government had enacted the THOA and THOA Rules after a major kidney racket surfaced in Bangalore but ‘live donor transplantations’ still outnumber ‘cadaver transplantations’ due to various myths about the latter which is an emotive issue also. Cadaver transplantation will largely solve the problem of scarcity of organs, which is resulting in the death of many. The availability of organs from living donors is limited and strictly regulated, but that is not the case with cadavers as it is legally permitted under the THOA.

“But, the number of people agreeing to donate organs of brain-dead is negligible as it continues to be a taboo in India,” said Dr. T. Ravi Raju, Chairman of Appropriate Authority for Cadaver Transplantations (AACT) of Andhra Pradesh and Vice-Chancellor of NTR University of Health Sciences.

Speaking to The Hindu on the occasion of the National Organ Donation Day on Friday, Dr. Raju said the Spanish Model of (Organ) Donation and Transplantation in which the deceased organ donation, allocation and transplantation are done under direct supervision of government agencies and a similar system followed in Philippines were giving good results.

Cadaver transplantation is administered on the same lines in most other European countries. “In Spain, human organs are considered State property,” Dr. Raju said stressing the need for a transparent mechanism of allocation of organs in which India fared poorly. Regarding the various issues involved in cadaver transplantation, Dr. Raju said declaration of brain-death was a sensitive and risky job and hence, the AACT would depute experienced neurologists to ascertain whether the brainstem of a person has been damaged beyond resuscitation.

Cadaver transplantation activities in AP were streamlined after Andhra Pradesh Transplantation of Human Organs Act came into being in 1995, but its implementation improved after the government had introduced Jeevandan scheme, he said.

Post-bifurcation, AP has got its own Jeevandan programme which is now based at NTRUHS. In the combined State, it was functional from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad.

The number of people agreeing to donate organs of brain-dead is negligible, as it continues to be a taboo in India.

Dr. T. Ravi Raju

Chairman, AACT(AP) and NTRUHS Vice-Chancellor

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