BHUBANESWAR: With the spotlight of infamy firmly on Odisha following discovery of thriving kidney sale racket, the State Government seems to be finally inching towards launching a deceased or cadaver organ donation programme to counter the menace.
The State Health Department is planning to start a campaign on creating awareness on body and deceased organ donation among people. In February last year, the State Government passed the Odisha Anatomy (Amendment) Bill, 2012 not only legalising body donation, but also making the processes hassle-free for donors. The focus would now be on creating awareness and motivating people to come forward and pledge their organs for saving lives.
A thriving cadaveric or deceased organ donation programme has been acknowledged worldwide as the most effective force to stamp out organ trade or illicit deals between unrelated donors and recipients, which have flourished on account of an acute scarcity of organs.
One donor can part with multiple organs from cornea, kidney, liver, heart, bones to save lives of as many as 34 people. However, while cornea donation has made some ground in the country, donation of other organs is still in nascent stage.
In cadaver organ donation, the organs are retrieved from persons in brain dead state and transplanted in the needy. The number of brain dead persons in hospitals is substantial considering the high rate of accidents across the country.
“Cadaver organ donation and transplant programme is the way forward, but there are many misconceptions and cultural beliefs about removal of organs from the deceased. The primary job before us is to sensitise the common mass and make them open to the issue”, Director, Medical Education and Training, and Chairman of the State-level Authorisation Committee to oversee organ transplants, Prof Sonamali Bag said.
Prof Bag said a private hospital has come forward with the proposal to start a cadaver organ transplant programme. It is ready to set up infrastructure and launch a hospital-based deceased donation-linked transplantation programme.
In India, around eight States have launched deceased organ donation programme with Tamil Nadu showing the way. The Southern State, which was considered a hub of organ trade in the country a few years back, has hit back with a robust cadaver donation programme. As per estimates, it had seen around 130 donors in 2013 at a rate of 1.18 per million population against the National rate of 0.26.
In Odisha, body donation is beginning to gain ground. In the past one year, around 60 pledges have been received along with two bodies. Several prominent persons, including BJD leader Subash Singh and his doctor wife Nibedita Das, have pledged their bodies to medical education after death and organs for transplant in case they are brain dead.