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India unable to meet huge organ demand

India has a long way to go in bridging the gap between organ supply and demand, says Indian Health Secretary.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : March 28, 2015 12:38 PM IST

According to a recent statement by Health Secretary B.P. Sharma, India has been unsuccessful in meeting the demand for organs for patients despite advanced medical infrastructure, programmes, and legal framework.

During a day-long conference for briefing officials of the state government and stakeholders on the National Organ Transplant Programme (NOTP), Sharma confronted about the huge gap between the increasing demand and supply of organs.

We have good medical infrastructure, legal framework, programmes and professionals, still we have not been able to meet the demand of organs for patients. We need to understand the challenges and work on them in a positive manner, Sharma said.

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The conference was organised to mark the National Organ Donation day. Sharma also released the operational guidelines of the NOTP on the occasion. There was an immediate need to understand that organ donation is a pious thing and one should promote it, he said. Awareness among people is needed to encourage them to donate organs. This requires involvement of the civil society, leaders and other stakeholders, he said. Patients should be provided affordable and accessible organ transplant, he said. Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services said lack of awareness was the cause behind less number of donors. The Indian Medical Association and other stakeholders should be involved to aware people to donate organs, Prasad said.

Organ donation concerns

Understanding problems with organ demand and supply

Around 200,000 kidneys and 100,000 livers are needed every year in India and only 2-3% meet with the demands. 90,000 Indians die in road accidents every year and 40% of those people are left brain dead . Dr Sunil Shroff of the MOHAN foundation estimates that 50% of all organ donation needs could be met by simply using organs from road accident casualties.

This also focuses on the lack of awareness about organ donation. The only way to improve such a situation is through measures of education about organ donation and setting an easy and approachable mechanism allowing people to donate their organs upon death. Clear all your confusions about organ donation here.

To donate or not?

The biggest hurdle with reference to organ donation is the lack of awareness. One way of clearing this obstacle is by having driving licenses to serve as donor cards, a practice that is usual in various Western countries.

The Central Government is working on a procedure that suggests all people applying for driving licenses should be asked whether they would be willing to donate their organs upon death or not. This belief is echoed by Dr Ashwin Mallya, a surgeon from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi who feels that since most cadaver donors are deaths from road accidents having their assent on their driving licenses would go a long way in fulfilling organ demands. Here are some 'organ donation' rules you should be clear about.

Similarly, get a complete insight on organ transplant, here.

With inputs from IANS

Image source: Getty Images

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