Hyderabad: The pace of organ donation and transplantation in Telangana, which literally grinded to a halt in the last 15 months, has now managed to reach the pre-Covid days, which is expected to bring a lot of cheer to needy patients and their relatives, who can now look forward to a reduced waiting time to access donor organs from the deceased.
Back in 2020, the State-run Jeevandan organ donation initiative hit a roadblock in the form of the Covid pandemic and lockdowns. Out of fear of hospital-based Covid infection, organ donations and transplantations had to be halted till the early part of this year.
In 2020, the number of donor organs that were retrieved was 257 from 75 deceased donors while this year, between January and November 18, the number of organs donated has increased to 508 from 136 deceased donors, which resembles the rate at which the organ donations used to be taken-up during pre-Covid days.
“Last 12 to 15 months were difficult for organ donation due to the pandemic. As a result, the waiting list of patients needing donor organs like kidneys, heart and lungs corneas had increased. However, since the pandemic has started waning, a concerted effort from government and private health care sectors has brought us back to pre-Covid days,” says in-charge, Jeevandan and Additional Professor, Nephrology, NIMS, Dr G Swarnalatha.
After the pandemic, patients who had recovered from Covid ended-up with severe lung infection. Since Covid-19 is primarily an upper respiratory tract infection, the damage to the lungs among those who have recovered has been quite severe and common, which has fuelled lung transplantations in Hyderabad.
This year, between January and November, lung transplant surgeons at private hospitals in Hyderabad have conducted a record 66 lung transplants, which has never occurred in Telangana before. From 2020 to 2021, the total number of lung transplants taken-up was 86 while only 23 lung transplants were conducted between 2013, when Jeevandan initiative was launched, and 2020.
“The long-term aim of Jeevandan donation initiative is to ensure more transplant surgeries are taken-up at government hospitals and the waiting time for desperate patients who need a new donor organ to survive is reduced. As part of these efforts, we are conducting awareness programmes on organ donation, in addition to outreach initiatives to honour the relatives of the deceased who took the decision to donate the organs of their loves ones,” Dr Swarnalatha added.
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