Mumbai: In a bid to boost organ donations, the Maharashtra government has initiated several measures aimed at strengthening the health network and widening the net of prospective donors, a top official said Monday.
The state government issued a government resolution (GR) making it mandatory for hospitals to inform about their 'brain dead' patients to organ transplant centres through Divisional Transplant Co-ordination Committees, said the health department official, requesting anonymity.
"There is already a provision to this in the Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994, along with a punishment of three years' imprisonment to those who violate it," the official said of the GR, issued two days ago.
However, on account of the punitive clause and lack of other legal safeguards, the efforts for voluntary organ donations and transplants have not picked up momentum.
With the new GR, the state government has accorded "a legal backing" to the medical fraternity, making it compulsory for them to inform the authorities of all-brain dead patients, the official explained.
Besides, organ harvesting facilities will now be made more widespread and become available in all hospitals with a minimum of 25 beds with operation theatre and intensive care facilities.
The actual organ transplant surgeries will continue to be conducted only at registered transplant centres, he said.
In an attempt to widen the net for organ donors, the state government will soon offer a separate column in college admission forms seeking voluntary organ donation.
If the students agree, it will be noted in their identity cards and on their driving licenses.
"We are currently coordinating with various Regional Transport Offices, the authority which issues driving licences to streamline this procedure," the official said.
He added that without public participation, these measures would not yield the desired results and patients in need of vital organ transplants would continue to suffer or perish.
The measures have been initiated after the state was shocked with the death of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh Aug 14 as he waited in vain for an organ transplant operation.