India faces huge donor crunch in liver transplants: Experts

New Delhi: India is facing a huge donor crunch in liver transplants -- of the nearly 20,000 needy patients, only 500 are able to get them, according to statistics available.

"India needs to get fresh statistics on the demand-supply ratio for liver transplants," Subhash Gupta, senior consultant for liver transplant and gastrosurgery at Apollo hospital said at the 22nd annual conference of the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation (ISOT) in the capital.

"In the West, liver transplantation is (necessitated) by obesity rather than alcohol (abuse)," Gupta said. "India is still seeing a mixed situation where the factors are preventive."

The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill, approved by the Lok Sabha in August this year, brought stringent measures to check illegal trade of human organs and stop exploitation of the poor.

"The amendment will surely help India, where there a huge gap between demand and supply in the transplant sector," said Sandeep Guleria, organising secretary of ISOT.

"It will encourage cadaveric organ donation also where family members need intense counselling for donating organs from a brain-dead person," he added.

Specialist doctors and the number of health care centres in the country remain low as even Delhi has just one public hospital that specialises in liver transplantation. The surgery costs around Rs.15 lakh.

Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in south Delhi`s Vasant Kunj has done around 15 liver transplants so far after setting up its transplant programme in 2010.


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