Organ donations rise after Covid-19 dip: What do the numbers show?

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Source: The post is based on the article “Organ donations rise after Covid-19 dip: What do the numbers show?” published in Indian Express on 20th December 2022

What is the News?

According to the data presented by the government in Parliament, organ donations have picked up again in 2021 after they had decreased in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is Organ Donation?

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About Organ donations in India

Data on Organ Donations in India: Of the 12,387 organs donated in 2021, only a little more than 14% — were from deceased donors.

The numbers were skewed in favour of living donations — organs like kidneys and livers donated by living family members.

Geographical skew in deceased donations:  Most of the deceased organ donations in 2021 were in 15 states with the top five — Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Karnataka — accounting for more than 85% of the total. 

– One reason for the geographical skew could be that most organ transplant and harvesting centres are concentrated in these geographies.

What is the organ donation rate in India?

India has an organ donation rate of about 0.52 per million population. In comparison, the organ donation rate in Spain, the highest in the world, is 49.6 per million population. 

Unlike India where a person has to register to be an organ donor — and the family has to consent to it after death — Spain has an opt-out system where a person is presumed to be a donor unless otherwise specified.

Why is there a need to increase deceased donations?

Gap in the number of organs needed: In absolute numbers, India conducts the third-highest number of transplants in the world. 

– Yet, of the estimated 1.5-2 lakh persons who need a kidney transplant every year, only around 8,000 get one. 

– Demand is on the rise because of the increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases. Besides, organs like hearts and lungs can be retrieved only from deceased donors.

Without deceased donations, a precious resource is wasted: Nearly 1.5 lakh persons die in road traffic accidents every year in India, many of whom can ideally donate organs. Although donations are possible after the heart stops working, almost all organs are currently harvested from brain-dead persons.

How can deceased donations be increased?

a) Hospitals should have a ​​medically qualified transplant coordinator to explain and guide the families through the process, b) More awareness about organ transplants so that people register as donors, c) Good transport networks between cities and states can help boost organ donation. For this, Road, Railway, and Aviation Ministries are working to facilitate the creation of green corridors for faster transportation of organs.

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