Written By: Aastha Ahuja | Edited By: Sonia Bhaskar | November 24, 2017 | Features

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Highlights
  • India has only 301 hospitals that can perform organ transplantation
  • Out of 301 hospitals only 250 have registered with NOTTO
  • India has only 5 ROTTOs and 6 SOTTOs are in the proposal state

New Delhi: Organ donation in India has always been on a lower side and around 5 lakh people die every year in India due to unavailability of organs. Nearly 2.2 lakh people await kidney transplant, of which around 15,000 end up receiving a kidney. At a given point of time, about 1 lakh people die of liver diseases in India and only 1,000 get liver transplant. A cadaver or deceased donor can save up to 9 lives, but despite this organ donation is a neglected issue. Lack of knowledge, awareness, infrastructure are some of the reasons behind shortage of organ donation in India. Here are the top 5 reasons why organ donation lags in India –

1. Lack Of Family Consent
When a person is declared brain dead it is difficult for the family to initially accept the death as the body is warm and the heart continues to beat. Brain death is often confused with coma and the family harbors hope of the patient reviving. But the fact is that brain death is irreversible even if the organs continue to function. This is what drives doctors to urge the family of the deceased to donate the organs and save someone’s life.

2. Superstitions And Misconceptions
Myths like “if I donate my organs I may be born without a kidney or liver in my next birth”, “Organ donation is expensive”, prevent people from pledging their organs. Most of the myths associated with organ donation are false.

People who are ready to donate organs often register their wish by thinking that they will have to bear the cost till the organ is harvested in other person’s body. Instead of taking an expert advice, people make assumptions and decide to not donate organs.

3. Lack Of Education And Awareness
Lack of proper education to the attendants of a brain dead patient, lack of awareness among general public about organ donation, organ donor cards, process of organ donation, add to the superstitions and misconceptions associated with organ donation in our country and make organ donation a tedious task. Many a times doctors are also not fully aware about the process of organ donation and things related to it which makes it difficult for the family of deceased or brain dead person to take a vital decision.

In 2014, when Patrick Lhungdima, a resident of Assam was diagnosed with a heart disease, he didn’t know what organ transplant or organ donation is. Patrcik had to go to Mumbai for a heart transplant as there was no facility for cadaver or deceased organ donation in his hometown.
It is the lack of awareness only which keeps people away from the concept of organ donation.

Also Read: Is Cadaver Donation In North-Eastern States A Distant Reality?

4. Lack Of Brain Death Declaration
In many hospitals doctors also lack knowledge about brain death and keep the patient on ventilator for as long as it is possible. Many of brain death cases occur in government hospitals where in brain death declaration is low rather negligible. Also, not many government hospitals are involved in the process of organ transplantation and retrieval.

Harshit, a 21-year-old boy who was declared brain dead last year was simply taken off ventilation because keeping him on ventilator was a waste of money only. Neither his parents were not aware about the concept of organ donation nor did the doctors told them about organ transplant. Harshit could have saved at least 7 lives, but his organs went in vain.

5. Lack Of Organ Transplant And Retrieval Centres
Not all hospitals in India are equipped to carry out the process of organ transplantation and retrieval. Out of 301 hospitals equipped to handle the process, only 250 have registered with National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO). Which means to conduct an organ transplant, there exists one fully equipped hospital for around 43 lakh people. Currently, in India, there are only 5 Regionl Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (ROTTO) and 6 State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO) are in the proposal state.

Also Read: The Agony Of Being On The Waiting List For Organ Transplant In India