New Delhi: In January 2016, when Naresh Vaidya, a professional working in the oil and energy sector, suddenly fell unconscious at work, he was rushed to a hospital in Ahmedabad. It was then that he was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, a chronic liver damage from a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure. In just two weeks, his condition progressively deteriorated, due to incorrect diagnosis and the treatment that followed. After two weeks, Naresh was rushed to Global Hospital in Mumbai where and doctors said that the only option was a liver transplant. For liver transplant to take place, Naresh had two options, either find a living donor within his family or wait for a cadaver donor, the waiting period for which can be as long as 10 years because in India while 200,000 livers are needed for transplants, less than 1000 are available through cadaver donations. To avail of organ donation from a cadaver donor, Naresh had to be registered in all the Global hospitals, to find a perfect match.
While waiting for the cadaver donor, Naresh’s younger brother offered to give his liver, but since his liver was fatty and not fit, so he couldn’t donate. During this waiting period, there were also instances when, twice or thrice a match was found for Naresh, but unfortunately could not reach the destination on time as the lifespan of liver once it is harvested is only 12-15 hours.
With each passing day, Naresh was losing weight and his health was declining. He reached a point where doctors declared that there was 15-20 per cent chance of his survival. At that moment it felt like everything was going against Naresh. Despite all this, Naresh didn’t lose hope and one fine day, six months after he fell ill, his prayers were answered, he got a call and had a successful liver transplant on July 2, 2016.
But not everyone is as lucky as Naresh. In India 4 lakh people die every year waiting for a transplant and for other the wait for a match can be as long as 18 years.
Why India Needs To Donate Organs
There is a wide gap between the number of organs required and the organs available. 2 lakh people await kidney transplant, but only 10,000 get one that is only five per cent. 50,000 individuals await heart, but in 2017, only 339 deceased heart donations were witnessed.
The huge gap exists even when an individual can save upto 8 lives.
Number Of Organ Donors In India
Over the years, the number of deceased donors has witnessed threefold increase. While in 2013, there were only 313 donors across India, 2014 saw 411 donors and 2017 had 905 cadaver organ donors leading to 2870 organ donation. But still given the demand and size of the population, india remains a country with one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world.
Currently, the state of Tamil Nadu is leading the cause of organ donation and is considered to be the best state in terms of organ donation. In 2017, the state had 176 cadaver donors who contributed 673 organs. From making declaration of brain death mandatory, setting up green corridors to implementing transplant guidelines to centralised waiting lists, Tamil Nadu took a number of steps that worked in its favour.
Also Read: Organ Donation: What Tamil Nadu Got Right
On the other end of the spectrum is, Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in the country, which witnessed just seven deceased donors contributing to 19 organs in 2017, followed by Delhi which had 45 donors and 136 organs donated.
The Number Of Donors In India Vs Other Countries
Until last year, the rate of organ donation in India used to be 0.5 per million population, but today it has climbed up to 0.8, which is a positive thing. Despite this, we are still far away from other countries like Spain, USA, China, Germany, Australia and Brazil who are way ahead when it comes to organ donation. While Spain is leading the cause of organ donation with the highest rate of organ donation (per million population) at 46.9, USA has 31.96 rate, followed by Australia and Brazil at 20.70 and 16.60 respectively. China, the most populous nation in the world also has a better organ donation rate than India by O3.67
NDTV – Fortis More To Give campaign aims to promote organ donation and encourage Indians to take the pledge to be an organ donor. India has among the lowest rates of organ donation in the world at 0.5 donor per million population, which is far less compared to over 30 donors per million in some western countries. On an average, five lakh Indians die every year unable to get an organ transplant in time due to the shortage of organs. Every year on National Organ Donation Day on November 27, a Walkathon is organised across different cities of India to raise awareness, bust myths about organ donation and encourage people to become organ donors. Over the years, the campaign has gathered support from celebrities like actor Irrfan Khan, Swara Bhasker, Gul Panag and Former Indian Hockey Captain Sandeep Singh.