Need for national-level awareness about organ transplant surgeries, donation in India: Doctors

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the country’s leading industry body, marked National Doctors’ Day with an awareness session: ‘Transplant Surgeries & Organ Donation which was attended by eminent doctors in the city.

A part of the Illness to Wellness campaign, the main goals of the session was to spread awareness and provide accurate information about organ and tissue donation and transplant procedures to enable people to live healthier, happier, and more successful lives.

Anil Rajput, Chairperson of the ASSOCHAM CSR Council in his introductory remarks said: “Tech innovations such as robot assisted kidney and liver transplant, path breaking innovations in various organ care along with modern medicines are pushing the boundaries of medical science in organ transplantation procedures which are not only supporting health-care systems to respond to this increasing demand but are also helping to save precious lives globally.”

He stated that in India, while organ transplant surgeries are evolving significantly, yet there is a considerable gap between patients who need transplants and availability of organs. Therefore, innovation in transplant surgeries, greater use of technology and research in this area along with creating awareness on organ donation will be key to strengthening the organ transplantation system.

People in India are still wary of organ transplants, so there is an urgent need of increased public awareness, stated Dr. Kalpana Nagpal, Senior Consultant, ENT (Head & Neck Surgery), Indraprastha Apollo Hospital Director, Robotics ENT (Head & Neck) Proctor & Mentor, Robotic Surgery President, Women Association of Otolaryngologists of India.

“In the last five years, there has been a significant development, and robotic surgery for transplants is on the rise,” she added, throwing light on how pre and post operation care is more crucial than the transplant surgery and how doctors need specific training for transplant purposes.

Dr. Gaurav Kharya, Clinical Lead at Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant & Cellular Therapy, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital New Delhi and Founder and Director Cellogen Therapeutics, informed that the laws pertaining to organ transplantation depend on the type of transplants and organ donation in India, especially bone marrow transplant.

“There has been 90 per cent success rate of transplants in India, but we still lag in the awareness and costing in high-end treatments. This is where government should step in,” he stated.

Dr. M.S. Kanwar, Senior Consultant and Advisor, Department of Respiratory, Critical Care & Sleep Med. Lead, Lung Transplant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, reveals: “Lung Transplant , whether single or double lung, has become the standard treatment option in advanced lung diseases, where quality of life has already turned poor due to breathlessness, fall in oxygen levels and inability to carry out normal physical activities among others.”

He added that of all organ transplants, LTx is the most challenging during and post-surgery. “There is a strong need for national level awareness campaign for organ donation to save countless patients suffering from end stage lung diseases.”

Talking about liver diseases, Dr. Arun Kumar Venuthurimilli, Consultant, Department of Liver Transplant and HPB Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, said: “Liver disease does not cause any obvious signs or symptoms until it is fairly advanced. So it is important to understand the causes and consequences of liver disease, which can be easily avoided by being cautious and practising healthy habits.”

Dr K.N. Singh, Senior Consultant, Nephrology & Kidney Transplant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, also spoke about the importance of early detection in the case of kidney disease. “Longstanding uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension are responsible for chronic kidney disease (CKD). This can be prevented by early detection, change in lifestyle, medications and regular follow-up with your doctor. Kidney transplant is an end-stage kidney disease treatment of choice. There is need to promote cadaveric organ donation through various platform.”

However, due lack of awareness regarding the importance of organ donation, a large number of patients continue to suffer without a donor. For instance, around 200,000 people die due to liver-related ailments every year.

Around 30,000 liver patients require a transplant surgery to survive and lead a healthy life, but only 1500 such surgeries are performed in India.

The awareness session was moderated by Dr. Rajesh Kesari, Founder & Director, Total Care Control, Delhi–NCR & EC Member, RSSDI.

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