External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was recently admitted to AIIMS in New Delhi due to a kidney failure, and reportedly underwent dialysis and several tests. Following the news of her illness, people including politicians started pouring in wishes and prayers. Meanwhile, more than 1.6 lakh patients waited for organs in India where only 12,000 donors were available. According to the Ministry of Health, the estimated annual requirement for kidneys ranges between 1 lakh to 2 lakh with only 5,000 transplants actually happening in reality. A person needs only one kidney to survive, and only one kidney operation happens at a time. The person can get the kidney from a living person or from a cadaveric donor. If it is a living donor, he/she must be a blood relative, and hospitals and the state assess all the documents related to that.
As of now a kidney transplant costs between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh in private hospitals in the country. After the operation, there is a monthly cost of around Rs 15,000 for half a year and life-long medicines which cost around Rs 10,000 per month. With such a huge difference between supply and demand of kidneys in India, the government has been making attempts to push donor or cadaver donations, yet the amount of response is disappointing. The numbers are so dismal that, in Indian Transplant Registry, it is reported that between 1971 and 2015, a total of 21,395 kidneys were transplanted in India, out of which a mere number of 783 kidneys belonged to deceased or cadaver donors. There is a huge lack of knowledge of the process and apprehension among Indian families, thereby decreasing the number of deceased donors in the country.
According to reports, over 2 lakh people suffer from last-stage kidney diseases every year. Just 7 out of 10 patients have access to dialysis but nearly 6 out of those 10, give up because of heavy treatment fees. There are more than 2000 dialysis centres in the country but most of them are in major cities only. The maximum number of kidney donations in the year 214 took place in Tamil Nadu which recorded a number of 227, while Kerela came second with 104. While Andhra Pradesh had 92, Maharashtra had 89. In the two years before that, the rate of cadaver and donors also increased from 0.16 million per million population to 0.34. This data is based on an NGO called, MOHAN Foundation.
For the donation the Indian Constitution has the following provisions: The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994; The Transplantation of Human Organs Rules – 1995; The Transplantation of Human Organs Rules – New Forms – 1995, and the following amendments: THO Amendment Bill 2011; THO Amendment Act 2011 and THO Rules 2014.