Hyderabad: Back in 2013, the concept of organ donation was largely based-on living related donors, as cadaver donation and brain dead declaration of patients in hospitals was still at its infancy in the two-Telugu speaking States..
There was no regulatory framework around cadaver organ donation and the process of distribution of cadaver donor organs was largely in the hands of private hospitals and voluntary organisations in Hyderabad. Fast forward six years, as the State-run organ donation scheme Jeevandan formally completes six years on January 1, 2020, there has been a definite transformation when it comes to acceptance, behaviour and perception among public towards the concept of donating organs to needy patients. Before Jeevandan, due to lack of regulations and firm implementation of guidelines, middlemen with shady motives thrived, often leading to kidney rackets. Gullible persons from weak financial background were targeted for organ donation, which eroded public faith on the idea of donating organs. “Jeevandan streamlined organ donation scheme in Telangana State. For the first time, the State government took over the cadaver donation programme and guidelines were framed on the process of distribution of organs. Private hospitals were brought under the ambit of Jeevandan and registry of patients needing organs started,” says in-charge, Jeevandan, Telangana, Dr G Swarnalatha. Since its launch, through Jeevandan, the health authorities here have managed to raise 2766 organs and tissues from 721 cadaver donors. From just 4 to 5 health care facilities who had registered with the Jeevandan to take-up organ donation, today, there are 38 health care institutions in the State (and many more in the pipeline) with recognition from Jeevandan to carry-out cadaver transplantation. Telangana: Jeevandan organ donation to turn 6 Challenges Despite improvement in various aspects related to organ donation in Telangana, the health authorities here have continued to struggle in encouraging Government hospitals to take-up organ donation in large numbers. In the last few years, the super-speciality hospitals in Hyderabad have led the way by taking-up nearly 90 per cent of organ donations and transplant surgeries in Telangana. In fact, private hospitals have established dedicated high-end transplantation facilities for heart, kidney and liver. Donor organs drying-up For the first time in the last three-years, there has been a dip in the number of organ donations that have been made through Jeevandan. While the number of cadaver donations in the last two-years was between 150 and 160, this year it has dipped to 124 cadaver donations in a year. “Sustaining the organ donation programme has been a challenge. Every other day, we conduct awareness programmes on the importance of organ donation among various cross-sections of the society,” Dr Swarnalatha said..