Enabling organ donation in India needs major policy change


Strict laws and low awareness are among the reasons that hamper organ donation in India, a country where lakhs of people die due to failure to get organs, according to an NGO working in the field.

In western countries like the US, the laws are not tough and India should follow some of their provisions, says Vice President of ‘Donate Life’ Sandeep Kumar. “There is an urgent need to change the laws related with human organs transplant. They are very restrictive in nature,” said Kumar, who is also a 1989-batch IRS officer.

The current law allows organ donations from a ‘near relative’, which it defines as spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister. Kumar said the NGOs have suggested to states to prepare their own norms and rules but only few of them have formulated the policies on this important issue.

Among the states, Gujarat wanted some inputs. “We have recommended them to expand the definition of ‘near relative’ and include friends, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and other relatives, he said. People, who need vital organs such as kidney, liver, eyes, are in lakhs but due to strict laws, people are very reluctant to donate organs”, Kumar said, whose organisation has been trying to create awareness, according to PTI.

“There is very low willingness among people to donate organs also because of low awareness. Cost of such transplants are also very high. It ranges between Rs 3 to Rs 3.5 lakh for kidney. Government should look at ways to reduce the cost,” he added.

According to reports, almost 1.5 lakh people in India need a kidney but only 3000 of them receive one. 90 per cent of people in the waiting list die without getting an organ. India’s annual liver transplant requirement is 25,000, but we manage only about 800.

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