‘Affordable transplants are the need of the hour’

As a part of our affordable transplant series, we take a look at how transplants in the country need to be made affordable for everyone. As per experts, private hospitals are not very feasible when it comes to organ transplants

Parents donate organ of their brain-dead son, save four lives

Organ donation can save and enrich lives. Unfortunately, the need for organ donors is much greater than the number of people who actually donate. If you look around you, you will most definitely come across at least one person requiring an organ transplant.

But, the scenario is changing. The year 2017, recorded the highest cadaver organ donation in the past four years with more than 58 cadaver donations. 91 kidneys, 58 livers, 34 hearts and one lung were transplanted to several ill patients in this year.

Maharashtra too saw 132 organ donations out of which Nagpur and Aurangabad have together made 15 donations.

“Every transplant is different.  Kidney transplants in KEM would cost you about Rs 1 lakh; a liver transplant is about Rs 3 to 4 lakhs which can go up to maximum Rs 6 to 8 lakhs. We only charge for medicines here. Hospital stay is very expensive in private hospitals. Consumables, doctor’s fee, infrastructure costs and drugs make transplants more costly. If the government starts limiting these charges, it will automatically become more affordable,” said Dr Avinash Supe, Director of major civic hospitals and dean of KEM hospital.

In the West, most transplants are partly paid by the government. “Let’s take the example of the United Kingdom (UK). UK health mechanism is designed in a way that the government is the payer. They can do this because there, the citizens pay taxes regularly. In India, less than 1 per cent pay taxes on time, so government can’t be the funder,” said Dr Sandeep Attawar, Director of Heart and Lung at Gleneagles Global Hospitals.

Organ transplants are life-saving and hence are irreplaceable in most circumstances. “Affordable transplants are the need of the hour. Monetary support is definitely an important aspect. But long term sustainability of these programs depends on the vision and policies of the government to reduce the cost of medications and expedite and facilitate the entire process,” said Dr Nilesh G Satbhai, consultant plastic, aesthetic hand and reconstructive micro-surgeon at Global Hospital.