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Saturday, 14 May 2016

India's organ deficiency: How struggle for second chance at life gets extremely difficult

Anita Singh, a 40-year-old from Noida with both her kidneys failed, sold her house earlier this year so that she could continue to pay for her dialysis. 

Singh has been waiting for a transplant for nearly eight months and needs dialysis twice a week. Her husband Virendra Kumar's kidney isn't a match and relatives couldn't provide her any respite either. 
Her husband and she have approached five hospitals in the National Capital Region for an O+ donor. 

Like around 170,000 others who live with failed kidneys, she is still waiting.

 While statistics show donations are not nearly enough to meet the requirements, the issue is not just about getting more people to donate organs. The country needs to gear up its infrastructure to address shortages and also prevent wastage of organs that do get donated, said transplant specialists as well as government and non-government organisations. Cost is prohibitive in private hospitals and government hospitals often don't have the facilities or trained manpower. \

Amendments to the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA) and the launch of the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) have created a streamlined organ transplantation system, said experts. 

The country's organ transplant programme has also gained momentum over the past five years through repeated government and media campaigns that have raised awareness about organ donation. 

These efforts have helped increase the rate of organ donation in India to one in 2 million people in 2015 from one in 20 million five years earlier, said Avnish Seth, director of Fortis Organ Retrieval & Transplant (FORT) at Fortis Memorial Research Institute. "Two decades ago, nobody thought that organ donation was possible in India," he said. 

The utilisation rate of these organs, too, has improved, said Sunil Shroff, managing trustee of not-for-profit organ donation and transplantation organisation MOHAN Foundation. 

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