Hospitals are not taking interest in Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s move to channelise and coordinate nationwide activities for procuring and distributing organs. As a result, there is a severe demand-supply gap.
The Ministry, in 2014, had set up the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital as the country’s apex centre for organ transplant. However, even after four years, only 19 government hospitals have registered themselves with the nodal body. In addition, a National Biometric Centre has also been set up at NOTTO and five other Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisations (ROTTOs).
Though the ministry does not maintain a centralised data as health is a state subject, according to estimates, about five lakh people die every year because of non-availability of organs. There is a demand for 2 lakh kidney transplants annually, but in 2017, for example, the number of kidney transplants was only 3,848. Similarly, around 50,000 people need liver transplants, while 30,000 need heart transplants. But according to figures, there were only 1,047 and 48 transplants, respectively.
According to a source, the registration with NOTTO is mandated by the health ministry, but still many hospitals have not done it till now. He said that the main reason is that health is a state subject. Due to the shortage, there is a big demand-supply gap, even though a person who dies naturally is a potential donor. He said a strong nationwide mechanism is required so that major organs from brain dead persons could be immediately made available to a needy patient.
In 2015, Health Minister J.P. Nadda had launched a national common registry to coordinate and allocate organs to patients in a better way. But the move has not become effective because of reluctance of the state governments.
As per NOTTO data, the estimated number of cadaver donations which took place across the country in 2016 and 2017 are 559 and 655, respectively.