Efforts made by the government since last year to increase organ donations by introducing a set of measures seem to have borne fruit,with the number of cadaver organ transplants witnessing almost a two-fold increase in the state.
From 26 in 2011-12,according to the Directorate of Health Services,the number of cadaver kidney transplants has jumped to 49 between April and December 2012. The number of live kidney donations during the same period was 369. Despite the upward trend,however,the number of donors is still largely inadequate with over 4,000 people waiting for kidney transplants across the state.
While only six livers and not a single lung were transplanted from the cadavers donated during 2011-12,the number rose to 19 and two,respectively,in 2012 (April to December). A cadaver donation takes place after the family of a patient,who has been declared brain-dead,volunteers to donate his/her organs.
A senior official in the public health department said the state passed four government resolutions (GR) based on the Human Organ Transplantation Act,1994,after the death of Vilasrao Deshmukh,former chief minister of Maharashtra. Deshmukh died on August 15 last year after doctors struggled to find a suitable liver for a timely transplant.
As per one GR,the government allowed non-transplant hospitals having an ICU and operation theatre to retrieve organs from brain-dead patients. The other GR makes it compulsory for all hospitals to have a group of experts that can confirm if a patient is brain-dead.
It has been over five months since these changes were brought in and 170 hospitals in Mumbai and over 300 hospitals across the state have started retrieving organs from brain-dead patients and sending them to registered transplant centres. However,considering the high number of people on the wait-list,we are considering setting a deadline and making it mandatory for all government and private hospitals to identify brain-dead patients and try to convince their families for organ transplant, said the official.
Families do not agree to organ transplant of brain-dead patients in hope that they will recover. After being declared brain-dead,organs such as heart,kidneys,liver,lungs,eyes and pancreas can be transplanted.
There are 95 registered centres in the state for single organ transplants and 18 for multiple organ transplants,besides 253 eye donation centres,eye bank and keratoplasty (corneal transplant) centres.
More blood donations
The number of blood banks and the total amount of blood collected has also seen a healthy rise in the state in the last five years. From 10.78 lakh units collected by 256 blood banks in 2008,the number jumped to 14.41 lakh units by 291 blood banks in 2012 a 26 per cent increase. There are 291 registered blood banks in the state,of which 78 are state owned. Forty per cent of these are in Mumbai. There are 135 storage centres established in rural hospitals.