Organ donations this year touch the century mark

Donation by the family of a 36-year-old industrial worker from Koppal is the 100th donation in 2022

Donation by the family of a 36-year-old industrial worker from Koppal is the 100th donation in 2022

Cadaveric organ donation in Karnataka is catching up fast with this year’s donations so far touching the century mark. This is the second time since the inception of the erstwhile Zonal Coordination Committee of Karnataka (ZCCK) for organ transplantation in 2007 that organ donations have touched 100. The State had recorded 105 donations in 2019.

In 2017, ZCCK was registered as a society and named as Jeevasarthakathe, the State’s nodal agency that facilitates cadaveric organ donations. This month (on September 5), the Union Health Ministry officially recognised Jeevasarthakathe as the State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO) and has allocated the required ₹84 lakh. 

The 99th organ donation that happened in Chikkamagaluru is noteworthy as this is the first donation that has happened in a district hospital, which has been identified as a Non-Transplant Human Organ Retrieval Centre (NTHORC). The 100th donation has been done in Dharwad wherein the family of a 36-year-old industrial worker from Koppal, who met with a road traffic accident, donated his vital organs. 

First district hospital

State Health Commissioner Randeep D. told The Hindu that Chikkamagaluru has become the first district hospital in the State to identify a potential organ donor. With this, Karnataka has recorded the second highest organ donations among Southern States after Telangana this year, he said.

“Our doctors from the brain-death certification team assisted the empanelled team of doctors there to certify the brain death and carry out the formalities of organ donation with the family’s consent. A team of doctors from Bengaluru rushed to Chikkamagaluru for organ retrieval,” he said.

He said the government has started training programmes for district health officials and general surgeons to handle such cases with sensitivity and ensure a successful donation. “We have recognised 18 district hospitals and medical colleges as NTHORCs to facilitate organ donations from the districts too,” he said.

Lijamol Joseph, Jeevasarthakathe Chief Transplant Coordinator, said awareness on organ donations has increased. “This year’s 100 donors include a nine-month-old male and a 97-year-old male. Both donors are from Bengaluru. The young girl’s donation in Chikamagalur has inspired many college students, who are now eager to become organ donation ambassadors,” she said.

Rise after COVID-19

Organ donations that had almost come to a halt during the pandemic saw a steady rise this year in the first quarter, especially after organ donations by celebrities. Subsequently, the pace picked up further. “As many as 70 cadaveric donations were recorded in 2021, retrieving 284 organs and tissues (including corneas and heart valves). In 2020, 35 donations were recorded, retrieving 167 organs and tissues. Likewise, in 2019 as many as 105 cadaveric donations were facilitated through Jeevasarthakathe (wherein 511 organs and tissues were retrieved). With the 100 donations this year, we have retrieved 284 organs,” Ms. Joseph said.

“During the first two years of the pandemic, everything was virtual and we were not sure if the message was accepted. But, now normal communication has resumed and we do not miss any opportunity to create awareness. We have not only intensified awareness but are also regularly training medical and para-medical professionals on identifying potential donors,” she said.

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