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Organ transplant body calls for strict action to prevent trafficking

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    30th Jun, 2023

Context

The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) has issued a warning after it found private websites and social media posts promoting and offering organs for trade.

What’s the issue?

  • Certain websites and social media posts are promoting and offering organ trading which is in violation of the provisions of Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissue Act (THOTA), 1994 and Rules. 
  • Such activities are punishable offence under section-18 of THOTA 1994, with fines ranging from ?20 lakh to ?1 crore and imprisonment ranging from five to 10 years.

The number game

  • According to latest available official data, the number of organ transplants has significantly increased over the past decade.
  • In 2013, there were 4,990 organ transplants, whereas in 2022, there were 15,561 — a jump of 211 percent.
  • Along with this, there was an annual increase of 27% in transplant numbers. 

What is organ transplantation?

  • The transplantation of an organ from one body to another is known as the organ transplant.
  • The person who gives the organ is called the donor while the one who receives is called the recipient.
  • Organ transplant is done to replace the recipient's damaged organ with the working organ of the donor so that the recipient could function normally.

Despite performing the third-most number of transplants in the world, only about 0.01 percent of Indians donate their organs after death, according to the World Health Organisation

What are the laws and rules governing the organ transplantation in India?

  • Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994: The primary legislation in India related to organ donation is Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994. The Act provides a system of removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes and for the prevention of commercial dealings in human organs. 
  • Recent changes: India has also updated its organ donation and transplant guidelines where
    • No domicile criteria for receivers: The domicile requirement has been done away with.
    • No age ceiling: With the new changes, patients who are 65 years and older can now register for receiving organs from a deceased donor.
    • No registration fees: The states are requested to not impose any fees on patients seeking registration for organ transplantation, as it violates the 2014 Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules.

National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO)

  • The NOTTO is a national-level organisation housed in the Institute of Pathology (ICMR).
  • It is mandated to establish a network for organ procurement and distribution and to maintain a national registry for the purpose of surveillance of organ donation and transplantation in the country. 
  • It was established under the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
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