Ministry of Health and Family Welfare27-November, 2010 17:58 IST
Ghulam Nabi Azad Calls for Stepping Up Organ Donation Drive 6th World & 1st Indian Organ Donation Day Observed
The Minister of Health & Family Welfare Sh. Ghulam Nabi Azad has urged people all of communities to come forth and generously donate organs to help the noble cause of saving precious lives. The Minister was speaking at the inaugural of the 6th World and first ever Organ Donation Day and Organ Donation Congress 2010 in New Delhi today. He pointed out that hosting of this day in India has a dual significance - It re-affirms our commitment that altruism should be the sole motivator for organ donation and it also helps focus attention on the untapped potential of organ donation in the country.

Shri Azad noted that around 10 lakh Indians are suffering from corneal blindness and are awaiting corneal transplantation. Against the requirement of 80000 to 100000 corneas per year only 38000 eyes are collected annually. As regards kidneys, about 1,50,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure in India every year, for whom the only way out is an organ transplant. However, the Minister lamented that only about 5000 of these patients are able to get kidneys for transplantation every year. “It is paradoxical that a country like ours with a billion plus population should have a shortage of organs for transplantation”, he noted. Shri Azad thus emphasised the need for increasing awareness in our communities about organ donation especially that of kidney, eyes, liver & heart.

The Health Minister informed that a comprehensive ‘Transplantation of Human Organs Act’ is now under consideration of our parliament which would address concerns about optimum utilisation of harvested organs and provision for networking all organ retrieval and transplant centres. He added that very stiff penalties have been proposed for unethical practices and “the proposed amendments have found wide acceptance in our parliament and would soon be enacted into a law.” Shri Azad said that a National Programme for Promotion of Organ Transplantation has been initiated with the objectives to improve organ availability by promoting deceased organ donation; organize a country wide system of organ procurement and distribution for transplantation; establish new transplant facilities and strengthen existing units and to train required manpower. Plans are also afoot to include the willingness for organ donation in the driving licence and a nationwide organ donation card and registry would also be launched. A Pledge card for organ donation has also been made. Shri Azad asked the experts to dwell upon means to reduce the cost factor of organ transplantation as a treatment protocol so that more patients are able to derive benefits from such techniques. He hoped that organ donation and transplantation can change the destiny of millions in need of organs.

In the past World Organ Donation Days have been organised in Geneva (14 October 2005), Argentina (26 October 2006), Kuwait (28 October 2007), Osaka (20 September 2008) and Berlin (4 October 2009). Stakeholders/Experts in the field of organ transplant from ten countries and premier institutions within India are participating in this two day professional Congress taking place in New Delhi organized by the Directorate of Health Services, Ministry of Health and family Welfare.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of State for Health and Family welfare, Shri Dinesh Trivedi called for spreading knowledge about importance of organ donation and preventing commercial trading and exploitation of the poor in the name of this noble cause. The Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Ms Sujatha Rao and Chief Coordinator for Organ Donation program, WHO Geneva Dr Luc Noel also addressed the gathering.

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(Release ID :67701)