Organs transplant Act notified

The government has notified the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act, 2011 that allows swapping of organs and widens the donor pool by including grandparents and grandchildren in the list.

However, rules of the amended law are yet to be notified, without which the Act cannot be implemented.

The Act, which has come into effect in Goa, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and all Union Territories from January 10, also provides for the establishment of a National Human Organs and Tissues Removal and Storage Network, and development and maintenance of a national registry of recipients of organ transplants.

Importantly, it prescribes stringent punishments for commercial dealing in human organs and contravention of any provisions of the law.

The Act regulates the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes, and prevents commercial dealing in human organs. It enables a surgeon or a physician and an anaesthetist to be included on the medical board in the event of non-availability of a neurosurgeon or a neurologist to certify brain death; makes it mandatory for the ICU/Treating Medical Staff to request relatives of a brain-dead patient for organ donation; and empowers the Union government to prescribe the composition of authorisation committees that grants approvals for donating organs.

Since health is a State subject, the government had to wait until some States passed this Central Act before notifying it. The Act received Presidential assent in September 2011. The remaining States will have to pass the Act in their respective Assemblies.

Welcoming the notification, Pallavi Kumar, executive director of MOHAN Foundation, said it would boost organ donation in the country. The provision that allows making requests to families of the dead to donate organs would help those in need, she told TheHindu .

There is a huge shortage of organs in India and patients die while on the waiting list. Around 7.85 million people in India suffer from chronic kidney failure. At present, the approximate prevalence of Chronic Kidney Disease is 800 per million population and the incidence of end stage kidney disease is 150-200 per million population. Nearly 3,500 kidney transplants are done annually as against the need for 21000 transplants.