KOCHI: The healthcare sector, which has been busy leading the state's vigilant fight against Covid-19, has gone the extra mile to ensure that other fields are not affected as far as possible. Organ transplantation is one among them.
So far this year, 23 major transplantations were facilitated, harvesting organs from eight donors. During the lockdown period alone, as many as five organ transplantations took place in the state.
According to Kerala Network of Organ Sharing (KNOS), two of the five cases were heart transplantation.
"Though organ donation in the state had slowed down over the past few years, we can say with certainty that Covid-19 has not affected it in particular. Kerala actually did better compared to other states," said Aneesh P V, KNOS transplant coordinator.
As per KNOS, 53 major organ donations took place in the state in 2019, against 29 in 2018. The family of Leena Shibu, a 49-year-old recipient of a heart, is thankful that they found a matching donor at the right time, without which her recovery was uncertain. "Heart transplantation was the only solution as she was
suffering from 'Ischemic Cardiomyopathy'. Though complete lockdown was in effect, the transplantation surgery took place, saving my wife's life," said Shibu.
The heart transplant surgery, conducted successfully last week, was facilitated by the intervention of the state government in transporting the heart in a chopper from Thiruvananthapuram to Lisie Hospital in Kochi.
Kerala is also leading the way in resumption of normal medical services, post relaxations in lockdown restrictions. Elective surgeries, including organ transplantations, have resumed in major hospitals of the state, while such a scenario seems to be quite far off for hospitals in many other states.
"Organ donations, which saw a decline around four years ago, is slowly but steadily improving in the state. This has not been affected due to Covid-19. While Kerala has fortunately seen much fewer cases of Covid-19 compared to other states, our focus remains on providing basic healthcare to patients. There has been
no let-up in providing medical care to non-Covid patients," said Dr Jose Periappuram, cardiac surgeon at Lisie Hospital.
‘Mrithasanjeevani’, the state government’s deceased donor organ donation programme, had witnessed a sudden drop in organ donation due to vicious propaganda on social media. The total number of deceased donors in the state had touched 76 in 2015. Kidney donation had peaked in 2015 with 132, but it slumped to 34 in 2017 and further to 14 in 2018.