People need to donate organs to help the noble cause of saving precious lives urged Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday.
Speaking at the inaugural of the 6th World and first ever Organ Donation Day and Organ Donation Congress 2010 in New Delhi, Azad pointed out that hosting of this day in India has a dual significance.
"It re-affirms our commitment that altruism should be the sole motivator for organ donation and it also helps focus attention on the untapped potential of organ donation in the country," said Azad.
Azad further said that around 10 lakh Indians are suffering from corneal blindness and are awaiting corneal transplantation.
About 1,50,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure in India every year, for whom the only way out is an organ transplant.
He said around 5000 of these patients are able to get kidneys for transplantation every year.
"It is paradoxical that a country like ours with a billion plus population should have a shortage of organs for transplantation," said Azad.
Azad emphasized on the need for increasing awareness in our communities about organ donation especially that of kidney, eyes, liver and heart.
He also informed that a comprehensive 'Transplantation of Human Organs Act' is now under consideration of our parliament.
The Act would address concerns about optimum utilisation of harvested organs and provision for networking all organ retrieval and transplant centres.
"Very stiff penalties have been proposed for unethical practices and the proposed amendments have found wide acceptance in our parliament and would soon be enacted into a law," said Azad.
The Health Minister further said that a National Programme for Promotion of Organ Transplantation has been initiated with the objectives to improve organ availability by promoting deceased organ donation, organize a country-wide system of organ procurement and distribution for transplantation, establish new transplant facilities, strengthen existing units and to train required manpower.
The Health Minister said plans are also afoot to include the willingness for organ donation in the driving license and a nationwide organ donation card and registry would also be launched. A Pledge card for organ donation has also been made.
Azad also asked the experts to dwell upon means to reduce the cost factor of organ transplantation as a treatment protocol so that more patients are able to derive benefits from such techniques.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Health and Family welfare, Dinesh Trivedi called for spreading knowledge about importance of organ donation and preventing commercial trading and exploitation of the poor in the name of the noble cause.