Lack of stem cell donors in the country means that thousands of people die every year in India due to life-threatening diseases like cancer, which can be treated to stem cell transplantation.
Stem cell transplantation is quickly assuming the status of common procedure in western countries but patients in India have to wait for long before they get any matching donor due to lack of awareness while there is also a cost factor associated with the patients' families.
The lack of donors was once again underlined in Garvit Goel's case, with the two year old having had to wait for more than a year before a suitable donor was found to conduct the transplantation for curing his thalassemia, a life-threatening blood disorder.
Stating that there was an urgent need for stem cell donors due to a large number of Indians suffering from blood disorders, the chief of Hemato-oncology and Transplantation department in Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Dr Dinesh Bhurani said that awareness has to be created for people to come forward. "Firstly, there is lack of awareness, most people don't even know that there is a need for donor for bone marrow transplant. Secondly, there is a fear factor. Most people are sceptical to become a donor thinking that it will have adverse effect on their health", he said.