Free organ transplants in Karnataka touch century mark

The 100 surgeries include 77 kidney, 15 heart and eight liver transplants

Updated - October 16, 2022 11:20 am IST

Published - October 15, 2022 11:27 pm IST - Bengaluru

Organs retrieved from a ‘Brain Dead’ patient at KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital in Belagavi were transported to Bengaluru, Hubballi and Dharwad for organ transplants. file photo

Organs retrieved from a ‘Brain Dead’ patient at KLES Dr Prabhakar Kore Hospital in Belagavi were transported to Bengaluru, Hubballi and Dharwad for organ transplants. file photo | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Karnataka’s Organ Transplantation scheme reached a milestone on October 13 when the free organ transplants touched the century mark.

The 100 patients from below the poverty line (BPL) families, who have undergone free organ transplants, have also got a total of 726 cycles of free immunosuppressive medication under the scheme since its inception in 2019.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar, who tweeted about this milestone on Saturday, said the 100 transplants comprised 77 kidney transplants, 15 heart transplants, and eight liver transplants.

The Karnataka government has so far spent over ₹5 crore on free transplants and supply of life-saving medicines that have to be taken lifelong post-transplant.

Launched in 2019

As organ transplants are not covered under the Arogya Karnataka-Ayushman Bharat Scheme, the government, in 2019, launched the free organ transplantation scheme — heart, liver, and kidney — for all BPL patients in government and private-empanelled hospitals. It had set aside ₹30 crore for this scheme in 2019 budget.

The government had fixed package rates of ₹2 lakh for kidney transplant, ₹10 lakh for heart transplant, and ₹11 lakh for liver transplant. A sum of ₹1 lakh has been fixed as financial assistance for post-transplant immunosuppressive medication.

According to data from the Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST), the nodal agency implementing the State’s health schemes, 23 patients underwent transplants and received 82 cycles of immunosuppressive medicine in 2019-20.

Despite pandemic

In 2020–21 despite the pandemic, nine patients underwent transplants. In 2021–22, 32 patients underwent free transplants and received 284 cycles of immunosuppressive medicine. In 2022–23, till October 13, 36 patients have undergone free transplants and received 200 cycles of immunosuppressive medicine.

SAST officials said that the immunosuppressive medication for the first two months are included in the package of the hospitals where the transplants are carried out. Subsequently, the medicines are provided through SAST lifelong for the organ recipients.

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