India's population stands at 1.2 billion, but only 0.08% of the people give consent to donate their organs. On the other hand, 10-20% of the population in the West are ready to part with organs. Health experts have suggested that lack of strong policies to make organ donation compulsory leads to the death of over five lakh people every year in India.
In India, over two lakh people die every year without getting a liver transplant, while 50,000 people die while searching for heart replacement. One lakh die without getting a cornea. Dr. P.K. Bhardwaj, Medical Director of the Saroj Super Speciality Hospital said, "Each year, thousands die while waiting for a transplant, because no suitable donor can be found. The need for organ donors has never been greater. In India even if people are completely eligible to be organ donor, they do not give their consent to donate their organs. The only reason Singapore, Belgium and Spain had a good number of organ donors was because of their aggressive approach, which permitted organ donation by default unless the donor had explicitly opposed it during his lifetime. The percentage of organ donation in such countries is 20-40% of their total population."
AdvertisementMedical science states that the organ which can be donated include kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, small bowel and pancreas. Dr. Bhardwaj said, "Tissues that can be donated include eyes, heart valves, bone, skin, veins and tendons. Vital organs like heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs and pancreas can be donated only in case of brain death."
Dr. Priyanshu Raina, a senior surgeon with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, said, "In a country like India religious leaders can be roped in to educate people about the importance of organ donation. Many Indians do not donate organs, considering this to be a sin."
The Organ Retrieval Banking Organization of AIIMS has revealed that over 22,500 people across India have registered since 2010 to donate organs after their death. Dr. Pius Jain, a senior surgeon at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said, "There was a need for a registry to understand who and where potential donors are. A registry gives a planner enough information to devise strategies to get more public cooperation and commitment towards organ donation. Having a registry in place allows doctors and transplant coordinators to check if a brain dead person wished to donate and then approach the family for consent."