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Deceased Kidney Donors’ Kin To Get Priority In Transplants To Encourage Kidney Donation
Durgesh Nandan Jha:
A patient who has earlier donated a kidney or is a close relative of a person whose organ was donated after death will get preference in allocation of deceased donor kidneys, according to new guidelines issued by the government.
The new policy aims to incentivise organ donation in India.
Director General of health services Dr Jagdish Prasad told TOI the new policy aims to incentivise organ donations.
As per the new norms, allocation of deceased donor kidneys will be based on points. A prospective recipient will get one point for each month on dialysis, and three points for each previous graft failure.
Recipients up to 18 years of age will get one to three points. But the maximum weightage, five points, is reserved for previous donors who themselves require a kidney transplant and for relatives of people who donated the organ in death. These points would be over and above other criteria.
Extra points have also been added for failed connectivity between the arteries and veins, which basically makes it difficult to conduct dialysis on certain patients. Similarly, patients with high panel reactive antibody, which is reflective of declining immunity levels, will get priority points.
Donor information should be listed on driving licenses.
Dr Saudan Singh, director of National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation, said the government was working on linking the driving licence application system with a pledge to donate organs. We have held meetings W with the ministry of road, transport and highways in this regard. The details on how to make it functional across states is being worked out," he said.
Singh said more than 1.4 lakh people died in road accidents last year. Two-thirds of them were potential cadaver donors. "Linking driving licence applications with organ pledges will help us tap into this source of organs for those who need it," he said.
People above the age of 65 are now eligible for kidney transplants.
The new guidelines have also increased the maximum age of a prospective recipient from 65 to 75 years.
Dr S C Tewari, who heads the nephrology division at Fortis hospital, Vasant Kunj said this is needed since people now live longer. "I have many patients older than 65 who underwent kidney transplant and are surviving well even after six to seven years," he said.
Kidneys can be donated by both living and deceased donors. "In case of a living source, the donor is already decided for a specific recipient. For deceased donor source, which is scarcely available in the country, the recipient needs to be selected out of a large recipient pool. The new system will help streamline the utilization apart from promoting the cause of organ donations," Singh said.
According to Dr Harsha Jauhari, advisor to the health ministry on transplant programme, living donors constitute more than 90% of all donors for kidney transplants. "The ministry's move to incentivise cadaver donations will help increase the pool of organs available for such transplants," he said.
There is currently a shortage of 1.94 lakh kidneys every year.
At present, more than two lakh people require kidney transplant every year in India but officials say only about 6,000 are able to undergo the life-saving procedure due to paucity of organs.
The rest either survive on dialysis - which, in simple terms, means cleaning waste products from the kidney - or die without a transplant.