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Concept of donating organs fails to catch up

In its seven years of existence, the Organ Retrieval Banking Organization (ORBO) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has received merely 780 organs and tissues for transplantation.

delhi Updated: Nov 28, 2010 00:19 IST
HT correspondent

In its seven years of existence, the Organ Retrieval Banking Organization (ORBO) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has received merely 780 organs and tissues for transplantation.

This speaks volumes about the acute shortage of donors. The trauma centre of AIIMS so far this year got 160 brain dead cases, out of which only two families donated organs.

The department of nephrology at AIIMS on an average conducts less than 10 cadaver kidney transplants in a year, when the actual need is 10 times more.

"There is an indefinite wait period for cadaver organ donation. In my department, people registered since 2004 are still waiting for an organ," said Dr SK Aggarwal, professor and head, department of nephrology, AIIMS.

The Union ministry of health has an ambitious plan of starting a national organ transplant programme with Delhi as nodal centre.

Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced this during the inauguration of Indian organ donation day in the Capital.

However, ORBO, which was set up as nodal centre in 2003 with a similar purpose, has not yielded the desired results.

"For a system to function smoothly, there has to be contribution from all quarters. Our brain dead donor registry has 12,500 registered people and the last three years saw some 40 donations out of them," said Dr Aarti Vij, in-charge, ORBO.

Since last five years, ORBO has not had any contribution from private hospitals; this is when 60% of private hospitals in Delhi provide emergency accident services.

"We did network during initial years and had received five odd brain dead cases from private hospitals in the start, but gradually the participation went down and eventually died. We get contribution from Army R&R Hospital though. ORBO doesn't have special powers, nor is it legally binding for hospitals to notify each brain death to it," said a senior doctor at ORBO.

Some of the big non-private hospitals in Delhi such as Hindu Rao, Guru Tegh Bahadur, etc., which together cater to nearly 25% of accident cases, also have an almost defunct committee for brain dead cases.

"To handle families of brain dead cases, we need to have efficient counsellors as part of a dedicated committee on this. The concept is still in nascent stages," said a senior doctor at GTB Hospital Transplant experts feel this new project would yield no better results unless there is better coordination and better planning in place.

"ORBO was a great idea. If only they could concentrate on creating awareness about it and strengthen the infrastructure, a significant organ
demand can be met," said a senior surgeon at Safdarjung Hospital.