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Myths, Male vs Female, Demand & Supply: Where are the Organ Donors in India?

GRDAJ:Nov,29.Although the number of organ donations have shot up by at least 50% in the last seven years in India, but they lag in keeping up with the increasing demand of patients requiring transplants, according to data.

According to the data by ORGAN India, organ donation is seeing more acceptance in India but transplants are also increasing at a much faster pace than donations.

For instance: Annual organ transplantation activity saw a jump of 77% in India from 6,916 in 2014 to 12,259 in 2021. This includes transplants of kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and small intestine.

Annual Organ Transplantation Activity in India

In contrast, the number of organs donated by deceased donors in 2014 stood at 1,030 compared to 1,619 in last year - an increase of 57%. (The numbers do not include the donations done by living donors such as for kidney or liver transplant.)

While both numbers are increasing, there is a huge gap in demand and supply.

"There is a wide gap between patients who need transplants and the organs that are available in India," Sunayana Singh, chief executive officer, ORGAN India told News18.Total Number of Organs Donated in India

Singh's NGO is one of the key bodies in India working on the issue of organ donation working under the aegis of the National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO).

In a country as diverse as India, Singh pointed out, various issues exist around organ donation including religious beliefs and superstitions apart from ignorance and hesitancy.

"There are times when a patient has pledged their organs but the family refuses to go through with it," she said while explaining further that "When a patient is brain dead, they have no chance at life again and yet organs are not retrieved from thousands of brain-dead patients - a simple act which could help a lot of critically ill patients get a second lease on life."

Total Number of Kidneys Donated

An estimated 2 lakh patients die of liver failure or liver cancer annually in India. About 25,000 to 30,000 liver transplants are needed annually in India but only about 1,500 are being performed. Similarly, about 50,000 persons suffer from heart failure annually but only about 10 to 15 heart transplants are performed every year.