[Answered] The changes to the organ transplant rules are small, but significant, steps towards giving a new lease of life to many people with failing organs. Elaborate the statement.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain what changes are made to the organ transplant rules. Also explain more measures.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

India conducts the third highest number of transplants in the world every year. Yet barely four per cent of the patients who require a liver, heart or kidney transplant manage to get one. Recently National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO), the country’s apex organ donation agency has framed some guidelines in consultation with state governments.

Changes to the organ transplant rules:

  • Raising the age cap: Senior citizens of age 65 above can now register to receive donations from live donors.
  • No domicile requirement: The Government has asked states to remove the domicile criterion for registering those seeking organs from deceased donors for transplant procedures. Now the needy person can go to any state of the country and register for getting organ and also get the transplant done.
  • No registration fee required: States have been asked not to charge recipients for registration on waiting lists for organs. States such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat and Telangana charge between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 to register recipients for organ donation.

What more can be done?

  • Increasing the pool of organs will require regulatory creativity without compromising on ethical imperatives — including those related to showing sensitivity to the concerns of a prospective donor’s relatives.
  • The opt-out system– it assumes all citizens to be donors unless they “opt out” — adopted in some Western countries may not be apt for a country such as India, where awareness of organ donation is low.
  • Public awareness is the most important step that can lead to improved rates of deceased organ donation.
  • Strengthening the role of NOTTO for coordinating the organ distribution system.
  • To ensure more effective sharing of organs a zonalization should be done (USA has such a provision). This would help in transporting and transplantation of organs which can be preserved only for shorter durations e.g. hearts.

The public hospitals need to increase the infrastructural capacity to carry out transplantation and provide affordable proper treatment to the poor.

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