Govt. Issue New Rules for Foreigners Seeking Organ Transplant in IndiaTop Stories

November 23, 2018 13:13
Govt. Issue New Rules for Foreigners Seeking Organ Transplant in India

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Foreign nationals who are seeking organ transplant in India should now have to be registered in the waiting list of hospitals, as the Health Ministry of India made it mandatory following reports claiming they were given preferential treatment.

Officials said the registered transplant center has to intimate the Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organizations (ROTTOs) and the list of foreign nationals seeking organ donation in India have to be shared with the NOTTO (National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization) in advance.

Also, an organ can be allotted to a foreign national only if there is no Indian recipient available to receive the donated organ at that time, said Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh, Director of NOTTO.

Among the patients from abroad, Non-Resident Indians and persons of Indian origin will be given preference.

"The issue of foreign nationals being preferred over Indian nationals for undergoing heart transplantation from an Indian donor was raised in Tamil Nadu after which a meeting was held in the ministry.

"It was decided that such foreign nationals have to be registered with a transplant hospital in India and the list of such people seeking organ donation in India has to be shared with NOTTO in advance," Dr. Anil Kumar, National Organ Transplant programme officer in the Ministry of Health, said.

According to the data shared by the NOTTO, the number of organ donation has witnessed a decline as compared to earlier this year. "This is mainly because the states do not share the complete data," said Dr. Ramesh.

In 2018, there have been 4,805 kidney transplants (deceased- 892 and living 3913), 180 heart transplants and 1,130 (deceased 459, living -671) liver transplants, 145 lung transplants, 13 pancreas transplants, five hand transplants and one small bowl transplant so far.

Likewise, the total number of deceased donors is 571 up to now.

In 2017, there were 1,684 kidney transplants, 339 heart transplants, 708 liver transplants, 14 pancreas transplants, 125 lung transplants, and the total number of deceased donors was 905.

Dr. Kumar likewise informed that only 14 states including Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam, Kerala, and West Bengal and seven UTs have adopted the amended Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act.

The amended Act provides for a national networking between hospitals, states, regional bodies and the NOTTO through an online system for establishing a national registry and ensuring that procurement and distribution of organs and tissues to the waiting patients can be done in a crystal clear manner.

The biggest drawback behind the states not adopting the amended Act is that they will be under no obligation to share their data, officials said.

-Sowmya Sangam

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India  foreigners  organ transplant