Organ harvesting from accident victims can stop kidney trade: Book

New Delhi, Mar 7 (PTI) Harvesting of kidneys from accident victims can be a solution to the shortage of the organ for transplantation in India and also discourage renal trade, says noted nephrologist Dr Ramesh Kumar in his new book.

In 'Kidney Transplants and Scams: India’s Troublesome Legacy', Kumar talks about the stark reality of kidney scams in India and strongly advocates the need of a national organ harvesting programme.

The book also provides a chronology profile of kidney failure, dialysis and kidney transplantation since 1973.

The first successful renal transplant in India took place in 1971 at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, and an exclusive department for kidney diseases was set up in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi in 1972.

It was in the eighties that India became the ‘kidney bazaar’ of the world, where foreigners arrived as medical tourists to purchase organs from the non-literate and impoverished class. Initially, Mumbai was the epicentre of the ‘kidney trade’ because of its proximity to the Gulf and African countries, the book says.

This practice quickly spread to Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and ultimately reached the north in places like Delhi and Punjab, devouring prominent hospitals in the wake of its tragedy, it says.

According to Kumar, though the government passed The Transplantation of Human Organs Act in 1994, modified it in 2011 and in 2014 to The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, neither of them has been able to put a stop to this clandestine, exploitative, inhumane and illegal trade so openly practised in the country.

He says that the availability of legally-harvested kidneys will stop the malpractice of illegal donations for money, exploitation of the poor and decrease the incentives fuelling the kidney trade.

'It is a pity that we are unable to harvest the organs of people dying on our roads. This is primarily because of immediately unavailable skilled personnel and storage facilities at accident sites and the delays that occur in transportation to the nearest hospitals,' he writes in the book published by Vitasta SAGE Select.

'As such, organs of nearly 400 people and their 800 kidneys and eyes go waste, buried or consigned to flames in funerals every day in India. Even if 50 of these kidneys are harvested per day, the problem of ‘kidney scams’ will vanish altogether, I believe,' he adds.

With a foreword by Navin Chawla, Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, the book is the first factual account of the nation-wide kidney scams rampant for the past many decades. In this book, Dr Ramesh Kumar reveals the stark reality of kidney scams in India and strongly advocates the need of a National Organ Harvesting Programme (NOHP).

The book, which has a foreword by former Chief Election Commissioner of India Navin Chawla, was released recently here by veteran Congressman Karan Singh. PTI ZMN RB RB