Kerala shows the way in kidney donations

What a wonderful initiative by Kerala? Time to learn from other states and implement them….

Considered a medical wonder, Father Paul Vattakuzy is a permanent invitee to most seminars and lectures on organ donation. Despite the life expectancy of a kidney recipient set to 10-15 years, he continues to live a healthy life 31 years after transplant.

But 59-year-old Vattakuzy is among the lucky few in the country who get this second chance at life. In India, a person dies waiting for a kidney every 15 minutes, and another person takes his place on the long list of patients.

Figures from the health ministry show the number of kidneys required each year is between 1.5 and 2 lakh, but legal transplants stand at around 5,000. The long wait and non-availability of organs and stringent restrictions force many to turn to the thriving underground market. Desperate patients are often duped, but are forced to suffer in silence for fear of legal action.

Among vital organs that can be harvested, kidney tops the list. While Tamil Nadu ranks No. 1 in cadaver or deceased kidney transplants (1,233 in 2015), Kerala takes the cake in another — it records the most number of living donations. The country saw just 18 voluntary organ donations in 2015, but in Kerala it was 78.

Doctors and activists who work on the field classify live donations into three categories — voluntary donation, cross-donation and family donation. Family donations are most common but cross-donation is gaining popularity in Kerala. In cross-donation a chain of kidney donors is formed, wherein a relative or a friend of the recipient is required to donate their kidney to a suitable recipient.

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