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Centre shifts gears to promote organ donation

While filling up the form for driving licence, the aspirants can opt for voluntary organ donation.

While filling up the form for driving licence, the aspirants can opt for voluntary organ donation.   | Photo Credit: M. Srinath

Draft Motor Vehicle Rules include an option to record a pledge on driving licences

The Centre proposes to amend the law on motor vehicles to include a choice for voluntary organ donation in new or renewed driving licences.

Under the move, the Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry will introduce driving licence forms with an option to declare that the licence holder is willing to donate organs in case of accidental death. A draft to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, has been published, which must be implemented by the States.

The death rate due to road accidents in India is among the highest globally – 11 per lakh population, according to World Road Statistics 2015 published by International Road Federation, Geneva.

In 2015, 1.46 lakh people were killed in road accidents in the country, which translates into 400 road deaths per day — an increase of five per cent over 2014, as per official estimates. “There is little awareness among people of organ donations. Around 1.5 lakh people die in road accidents every year, many of them from severe head injury. People who end up brain dead can donate their organs,” said a senior Road Transport and Highways Ministry official. An NGO, Gift Your Organ Foundation, estimates that about 67 per cent of those who die in road accidents suffer head injuries and a significant number are left brain dead.

Law on donations

The Centre’s move is aimed at addressing a health crisis as demand for organs has risen, partly due to increase in non-communicable diseases, and donation rates remain low. In 1994, India passed a law regulating donation of organs to curb trade and exploitation, and to give an impetus to donation.

One estimate by Organ India, an NGO, says there is a need for about 200,000 kidneys, 50,000 hearts and 50,000 livers for transplantation each year. Currently, around 5,000 kidneys, 1,000 livers and a small number of hearts are transplanted annually.

The Organ Donation Rate of 0.26 per million in India is poor, compared with America’s 26, Spain’s 35.3, and Croatia’s 36.5 per million. Donation remains a choice even with a licence pledge, since the legal custodian or family can decide. Capabilities and facilities for harvesting and donation also vary widely between government and private hospitals, the NGO says in its report.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 10:08:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Centre-shifts-gears-to-promote-organ-donation/article16760915.ece

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