Status of Deceased Donation Programme in India

Posted by Sunil Shroff on Wed, Jul 15, 2009  
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The passing of the legislation  -  ‘Transplantation of Human Organ Act’ and the recognition of brain stem death,in the Indian Parliament has made the deceased donation programme in India possible. 

Spain has the highest number of organ donation rate from brain dead patients in the world at 33 per million population - Spain has a population of 40 million and has on an average 1340 Brain donors every year – 33x 40 =1340.  This has been possible due to the co-ordination network between 139 hospitals.  In India our current organ donation rate is 0.07 per million ( about 70 Cadaver donors per year ). However if we can improve it even to 1 per million donation - we could take care of some of the organ shortages in India and this is how the arithmetic’s would work -


  • At 1 per million donation rate we would have 1100 organ donors  that could potentially generate over 5,000 solid organs  besides 2200 corneas. This should take care of almost all current demand for organs such as heart and livers in India.


  • At 2 per million donation rate there would be 2200 organ donors and the above figures would double and as per the current figures, there would be no necessity to undertake living kidney donations.


  • If we did 3 per million, we could take care of the demands of all neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.


  • At 5 per million, India could start looking at the problem of organ shortage in rest of Asia and other parts of the world.


The above projections would obviously change if  the demand in India increases and more centres have the capability of doing organ transplants. In Tamil Nadu , one of the leading states in the country that is actively pursuing deceased donation programme. There  have been 23 donations in the last six months.

The cadaver programme needs to be given a priority and efforts should be made to encourage hospitals and state governments to promote the programme.  We in India at present may not be able to compare our economic progress with some of the western counter parts, but countries in second league like Poland and Hungary are today able to do an Organ donation rate of 6 per million.  Even the conservative society of Turkey does 1.5 per million.


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