Recently, in Chennai, 14 patients got the lease of life when two families decided to donate the organs of their respective sons who were declared brain dead.
In sharp contrast, the story of a sales professional from Bhubaneshwar is painful. Mr Das (name withheld) was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver around a year back and the only option was a liver transplant. Unfortunately, there was no donor in the family.
He is still waiting for one. These two incidents bring to light the significance of organ donation — a new life for one, while agony for the other.
“Of recent, organ donations across India have picked up the pace and the numbers (of donors) are growing. But still, the harsh reality remains the massive gap between those who are seeking organs visà-vis the donors particularly in Odisha,” said Dr. Nisith Mohanty a nephrologist at Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar.
The state has an abysmally low donation number of deceased organ donation. In 2019 there were only 6 cadavers out of 93 transplants in Odhisa. While the states such as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka has robust deceased organ donation and transplantation programme as compared to Odisha.
“The reason for skewed numbers can be broadly attributed to the in-general negative attitudes towards organ donation, illiteracy coupled with families’ age-old consideration that it’s a disregard to the individual who has passed away,” said Dr. Mohanty.
On the Organ Donation Day observed yesterday he said “Let’s save humanity even in death, “while conferring the ‘Suraj Award’ to late Bipin Pradhan. Pradhan’s family members had decided to donate six of his vital organs before his accidental death at a Surat hospital.
The Covid pandemic has worsened the scenario. With restricted movement and prime focus on Covid treatment, the pace of organ donations and transplants has slowed down.
According to government data, an estimated1.8 lakh persons suffer from renal failure every year, but the number of transplants done is only around 6,000. An estimated 2 lakh patients die of liver failure annually but only about 1,500 transplants are being performed. About 50,000persons suffer from heart failures annually but only about10 to 15 heart transplants are performed every year. There is an urgent need to encourage cadaver organ donation in Odisha, noted Dr Mohanty.