Health Ministry to finalise cadaver transplant guidelines soon

New Delhi: To improve the rate of cadaver transplants, the government is in the process of finalising the first ever national guidelines on the subject.

The guidelines, being prepared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will address the challenge of retrieving organs from people declared brain dead by hospitals and then storing and transporting the organs to the transplant centres.

The ministry has already prepared draft guidelines as per the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Bill 2011 and has invited public comments till June 5.

The new Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules 2013 have been prepared after consultations from experts in the field and are aimed at putting in place the procedures for transplantation of human organs and tissues.

The rules will guide ICUs on best storage practices for retrieved cadaver organs and on how to preserve these organs in a way that they are not wasted or damaged.

The guidelines will finally be cleared by Health Services Director General Jagdish Prasad.

At a recent function here, Prasad had said there was an acute need for upgrading the surgical and related skills of professionals in this field.

The objective is to have experts to recommend national guidelines which we will examine for adoption, he had said.

Experts in the field say there is too much wastage of retrieved organs due to lack of uniform procedures to handle and preserve the organs for transportation.

A kidney transplant surgeon uses a different technique to retrieve and store the organ, while a liver transplant surgeon uses a different technique. There is no consensus in procedures and confusion persists leading to lot of wastage, an expert said, adding that the guidelines prepared will address all these challenges with a view to reduce wastage of precious organs.

In India transplant surgeons are very limited in number. There are just 170 transplant centres and only 391 cadaver transplants happened in 2011, as per a data compiled by the health ministry.

According to a WHO data, India`s rate of cadaver transplants is only 0.32 per million as against Spain`s 35.

Spain, which has the highest rate of cadaver transplants globally, has perfected the art of transplant surgery and put in place advanced procedures for various transplants.