Today I came across a very neatly written editorial in Indian Express newspaper regarding the present scenario of Organ transplant in our country. It goes as,
"A law that disregards common sense, exists to be violated. In the late ’80s and early ’90s, India and China had emerged as the kidney transplant hubs of the world. The resultant Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA) of 1994 banned commercial organ transplants, allowing only transplants from brain-dead patients and donations from the immediate family — spouses, parents, children and siblings. This constriction of supply against demand made it almost impossible to find donors. Yet, India has hundreds of thousands of patients needing transplants; and organs in demand are not just kidneys but also hearts, lungs, livers, pancreases, and so on. The law, in fact, led to a booming black market, where desperately ill recipients and desperately poor donors were exploited by middlemen. The Gurgaon organ racket scandal was only symptomatic of this malaise that persists in all our big-city shanties.The government, on the reco-mmendations of the Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare, has therefore made the correct move in deciding to amend THOA with an eye to streamlining organ transplants. The health ministry had, in the aftermath of Gurgaon, realised that regulation would be more effective than outright ban. Looking to simplify transplants and reduce the disparity between demand and supply, the amended law will bring within its ambit regulation of tissue transplants too. More importantly, it will expand the definition of “near relatives” to include grandparents and grandchildren. Besides, the “swap” option, allowing a donor-recipient pair who are near relatives but whose organs don’t match to swap organs with another pair, is a helpful expansion of scope. Finally, easing another restriction, a foreign donor or recipient will henceforth be able to do with the authorisation committee’s prior approval.There’s much more to be done — generating public awareness on available options and social consciousness about transplants. The long-needed national registry of organs under consideration will help. But what’s also needed is a behavioural change making people willing donors. Caught up in the bioethics of marketing organs is the plight of the poor — the focus of kidney rackets. Following this policy reform, there has to be action on our transplant infrastructure and on cadaver-based donation, with the additional aim of being able to presume consent for transplant unless objected to."