Context: The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) has issued a warning against private websites and social media posts promoting and offering organs for trade.
Status of organ trade in India
- There is not much data available regarding those whose organs are removed and the long-term effects on them.
- As per a World Health Organisation (WHO) report, India is the largest exporter of human organs internationally, and there is no doubt that the majority of them fall under illegal organ trading.
The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO)
- National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) is a National level organization set up under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
- It has following two divisions:
- “National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network”
- “National Biomaterial Centre”.
National Human Organ and Tissue Removal and Storage Network
- This has been mandated as per the Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011. The network will be established initially for Delhi and gradually expanded to include other States and Regions of the country.
- National Network division of NOTTO would function as apex centre for All India activities of coordination and networking for procurement and distribution of Organs and Tissues and registry of Organs and Tissues Donation and Transplantation in the country.
The following activities would be undertaken to facilitate Organ Transplantation in the safest way in shortest possible time and to collect data to develop and publish National registry:-
At National Level :
- Lay down policy guidelines and protocols for various functions.
- Network with similar regional and state level organizations.
- All registry data from States and Regions would be compiled and published.
- Creating awareness, promotion of organ donation and transplantation activities.
- Co-ordination from procurement of organs and tissues to transplantation when organ is allocated outside the region.
- Dissemination of information to all concerned organizations, hospitals and individuals.
- Monitoring of transplantation activities in the Regions and States and maintaining data-bank in this regard.
- To assist in data management for organ transplant surveillance & organ transplant and Organ Donor registry.
- Consultancy support on the legal and non-legal aspects of donation and transplantation.
- Coordinate and Organize trainings for various cadre of workers.
National Biomaterial Centre (National Tissue Bank)
- The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act 2011 has included the component of tissue donation and registration of tissue Banks.
- The main thrust & objective of establishing the centre is to fill up the gap between ‘Demand’ and ‘Supply’ as well as ‘Quality Assurance’ in the availability of various tissues.
The centre will take care of the following Tissue allografts:-
Bone and bone products e.g. deep frozen bone allograft, freeze dried bone allograft, dowel allograft, AAA Bone, Duramater, facialata, fresh frozen human amniotic membrane, high temperature treated board cadaveric joints like knees, hips and shoulders, cadaveric cranium bone graft, loose bone fragment, different types of bovine allograft, used in orthodontics, Skin graft, Cornea, Heart valves and vessels (other tissues shall be gradually included).
- Coordination for tissue procurement and distribution
- Donor Tissue Screening
- Removal of Tissues and Storage
- Preservations of Tissue
- Laboratory screening of Tissues
- Tissue Tracking
- Records maintenance, Data Protection and Confidentiality
- Quality Management in tissues
- Patient Information on tissues
- Development of Guidelines, Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures
- Assisting as per requirement in registration of other Tissue Banks
Legal Framework in India for mitigation of Organ trade
- Article 21 – In its wider interpretation Supreme court has upheld that the right to health and the right of a person over their body is an integral aspect of article 21.
- Article 23 – The constitution of India guarantees the right against exploitation which also involves organ trafficking which is closely linked with human trafficking.
- The Transplantation of Human Organs & Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994 provides for regulation of removal, storage and transplantation of human organs & tissues for therapeutic purposes and for prevention of commercial dealings in human organs & tissues. (Section 18-22 of this Act deals with the punishment for the offences in context of contraventions to the provision of the Act.)