Ministry of Health appeals for donation of dead bodies for academic, research purposes

Health Ministry’s appeal for donation of dead bodies comes amidst shortage of human cadavers in medical colleges for academic and research purposes

Updated - July 10, 2024 12:48 pm IST

Published - July 10, 2024 12:36 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Director-General of Health Services Atul Goel. File

Director-General of Health Services Atul Goel. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Amidst shortage of human cadavers for academic and research purposes in medical colleges across the country, the Union Ministry of Health has appealed to States/Union Territories to encourage people to donate dead bodies in the event of deaths happening outside hospitals. 

In a note to Health Secretaries, the Director-General of Health Services Atul Goel said the Union Government was committed to promote and augment organ donation for saving lives of those suffering from various organ failures. In most of the cases, organ donation was feasible only from the brain stem dead patients (before the heart stops). 

On many occasions it was noted that organ donations were not possible in situations where deaths happened outside the hospital, cardiac deaths occurring  before the patient got admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and deaths before the completion of brain stem death certification process.

Body donation possible 

In such situations and also in deaths happening at home, body donation was possible. “The donated human bodies are required for academic and research purposes, which aids in better teaching of medical professionals. We have shortage of human cadavers required for teaching in the country,” Prof. Goel said. 

Asking State Health Secretaries to instruct the stakeholders accordingly, he said in scenarios where organ donation was not possible, the option of body donation could be explored and family members encouraged and facilitated for the same. “This will go a long way in offsetting the shortage of human cadavers in medical institutions.”

Nationwide campaign 

In a separate communication, the Health Ministry informed that as part of the Indian Organ Donation Day on August 3, 2024, it had been decided to organise public awareness campaign in the name of “Angdaan Jan Jagrukta Abhiyaan”. 

Stating that strengthening the healthcare systems to facilitate organ donation and transplantation was among the top priorities of the Government of India, the Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra said organ donation was a noble act that offered hope and new lease of life to those suffering from end-stage organ failures.

Huge gap between donors and patients

“One organ donor can save up to 8 to 9 lives. However, a huge gap exists between patients who require organ transplants and the organ donors that are available,” he said.

The campaign was intended to reduce the demand for organ transplantation by promoting healthy lifestyles and wellness, to spread awareness about brain stem death and deceased organ donation.

The focus would also be on busting myths and misconceptions related to organ donation and transplantation, the Union Health Secretary said.

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