[Answered] What are the factors promoting illicit organ trade? What policy measures are required to tackle the menace of illicit organ trade?

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some factors which promote illicit organ trade. Also write some measures to tackle the illicit organ trade.
Conclusion: Write some suggestions.

In India, ‘The Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994’ is the only legislation that regulates organ transplantation. But due to lack of implementation of policies and various loopholes, organ trading has become a trade flourishing illegally. Illegal organ trade not only jeopardise the holy cause of saving someone’s life but it also endangers life of another healthy individual.

Factors promoting illicit organ trade:

  • Shortage: More than 1.5 lakh people in the country require kidney transplants every year. But the number of organ donors is a small fraction of this requirement.
  • Altruistic donation: The black market in the organ trade flourishes by disguising illegal trafficking as “altruistic donation”.
  • Official ignorance: Medical authorities have ignored suggestions to increase the transparency in the work of committees that scrutinise organ donations.
  • No opt-out system: Unlike some western countries, India does not have a “opt-out” system. This system assumes all citizens to be willing organ donors after death unless they “opt-out” of it.
  • Lack of infrastructure: India’s organ transplant law recognizes cadaver (after death) donations with family approval. However, declaring a person brain-dead in time for the organs to be harvested is very difficult in India. Most hospitals lack the expertise and facilities required for this purpose.
  • Socio-cultural beliefs: A lot of people also believe that organ donation is prohibited in their religion. With the lack of willingness of people who want to donate, an illegal trade market becomes conducive.

Measures:

  • Creating awareness, promotion of organ donation and transplantation activities.
  • The process of allocation of organs should be made more transparent. It should be made monitored and tracked; made accessible to the public.
  • Monitoring of transplantation activities in the Regions and States and maintaining data-bank in this regard.
  • Consultancy support on the legal and non-legal aspects of donation and transplantation.
  • Preventing needs for transplantation by creating awareness about diseases that lead to organ failure such as diabetes and hepatitis.
  • Implementing stricter laws that prohibit organ trading and trafficking.
  • Strengthening the role of NOTTO (National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization) for coordinating the organ distribution system

Illegal organ trade should be strictly dealt by laws and regulations. Further a collective effort of government, states, civil society is required. To deal with this, country must take responsibility for meeting their own transplant needs by pursuing self-sufficiency.

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