IASbhai THE DAILY EDITORIAL HUNT: 30th NOVEMBER
EDITORIAL 11 : “Not as you say, but as you do”
SOURCES: THE HINDU
Dr. J. Amalorpavanathan
Getting organ donation to tick again
Organ donation is bane and boon in our country . Comment -(GS 3)
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Systems biology and medicine:Recent initiatives in Health & Biotechnology
This is a potential editorial where you will have an insights of organ trade , and this article is one of its kind !
Organ donation day is observed with the primary objective of promoting organ donation and transplantation so that a number of persons suffering from organ failure, such as the kidneys and liver, can get a new lease of life using organs gifted by others who have lost their lives (such as in road accidents or other reasons).
- Indian Organ Donation Day : As the country honours the donation process, and distributes awards to donor families — Indian Organ Donation Day is observed by the Government of India on November 30 — it also needs to reflect on certain negative perceptions that appear to be growing and undermining the altruistic donation mindset of donor families.
- A classic example of this is the steep drop seen in Kerala — from 76 deceased donors in 2015 to eight in 2018 — due to a perceived, however unfounded, scandal that private hospitals were declaring persons brain dead when they were not really so, in order to harvest their organs and profit from them.
- Trust deficit : The underlying factor is the highly privatised health-care system in India and the growing trust gap between patients and doctors trapped in the profit-seeking business of tertiary care;
- Cost Analysis : While an organ comes free, as donated to society, transplanting it to another person costs anywhere between ₹5 lakh and ₹25 lakh, including profit to the hospital.
- Healers or Predators : Hence the unavoidable suspicion that unethical practices may take place — as highlighted in a recently published book, Healers or Predators? Healthcare Corruption in India.
- Middle class factor : The reality that a majority of accident victims who become donors are lower middle class and below, while the majority of organ recipients are from the small number of persons who can afford transplant surgery and costly lifetime medication thereafter.
- Maximum wastage : The cost factor is the key reason why more than three quarters of donated hearts and lungs do not get taken.
- Favourable treatment : A common solution to this, advocated by many, is that public hospitals should chip in and help the poor. Very few public hospitals in the country do kidney transplants and less than five do liver and heart transplants.
- Health care spending : In a country where public spend on health care remains an abysmal 1.2% of GDP — less than a third of what even some developing countries spend — priority should be on spending the limited allocation on areas that would benefit the greatest number of persons.
- Are there any solutions to these issues of trust gap and inequality?
- Only steps to moderate are possible in these deep-rooted societal fault lines.
This will amount to cross-subsidisation, with the hospital, the doctor and the recipient footing the bill for free surgery to the section of the population that donates a majority of organs.
This may not please present stakeholders in this field but they need to avoid the tendency to sweep inconvenient issues under the carpet and discuss seriously how to address the trust gap and inequality that are factors impacting family consent for organ donation.