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Govt mulling change in organ transplant law

The Indian Govt has zeroed in on the model of "presumed consent" under which everyone would be considered a donor unless they stipulate otherwise.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2008 11:45 AM IST

India is exploring various options for setting up an organ donation system and has zeroed in on the model of "presumed consent" under which everyone would be considered a donor unless they stipulate otherwise.

The move is expected to help thousands of people suffering from organ failure once implemented.

The need to address the acute shortage of donated organs was highlighted in January when a multi-crore scam illegal kidney transplant racket was busted near the capital.

A Health Ministry team, led by Director General of Health Services (DGHS) RK Srivastava, recently visited various countries and studied the different systems in operation there.

"While most of the countries have adopted the presumed concept, in India and the United States we have the expression of consent concept," Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told PTI.

In the first concept, it is presumed that any person who is brain dead has agreed to donate his or her organs, while in the second one the family of the person has to agree to let his/her organs be donated.

Ramadoss said there was another model like the one in Iran where the government controlled organ transplantation, but that model has drawn much criticism from experts.

Expressing hope that the government would be able to introduce some kind of a model very soon, Ramadoss said a beginning can be made from corneal donation.

"At least we can make a start with this concept from cornea," the Health Minister said.

The government is contemplating amending the Organ Transplantation Act to avoid illegal transplantation of organs in the country.

A total of 10 Organ Retrieval and Banking Organisations (ORBO) will be set up in a span of a couple of months, he said.

There would be separate centres which would coordinate and brief counsellors and it would be mandatory for Intensive Care Units (ICU) which have brainstem dead patients to announce it.

Trauma centres set up along the highway would facilitate harvest of cadaver organs.

As per the draft of the amendments being framed by the Ministry, a separate National Accredited Board for Laboratories (NABL) would be set up by the Quality Council of India for undertaking assessment and accreditation of testing and calibration of laboratories in accordance with the international standard.

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