Addressing the 29th annual conference of the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation in Hyderabad on 5th October 2018, Naidu pointed out that although there was a huge requirement for donated organs in the country, only a miniscule number were getting them. “Of the 85,000 liver failure patients on waitlist annually, less than 3% get the organ. Similarly, while two lakhs kidney failure patients registered for organ transplantation, only 8000 get the kidney. And barely 1% get heart /lung amongst the thousands on waitlist,” he added.
The Vice President said though there was a huge leap in cadaveric organ donations in the last 4-5 years, the demand-supply remained hugely unmet because of low rates of organ donation at 0.8 per million population when smaller countries like Spain and Croatia were having rates of 36 per million and 32 per million respectively.
Observing that the significant gap in the country was due to cultural beliefs, traditions and ritual practices, he called upon the doctors, NGOs and others to make people aware of the importance of organ donation. He said “India is known for unity in diversity and altruism in all cultures and we need to increase the donation rates to meet the demand of organs for organ transplantation”.
Keeping the rising demand in view, the Vice President urged doctors and other health care delivery providers to focus on the preventive care and making transplantation an affordable therapy for all the needy people.
Emphasising that prevention was better than cure, the Vice President said many end stage diseases can be prevented by lifestyle modifications. Expressing his concern over the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, he told the medical fraternity to educate the people on the dangers of leading sedentary lifestyle, eating junk food and on excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
Stating that Yoga has nothing to do with religion, he said people should be advised to practice yoga. He also asked the medical fraternity to educate people on reducing salt intake in view of its association with hypertension.
Referring to the lack of adequate healthcare facilities and manpower in rural areas, the Vice President suggested that it should be made mandatory for doctors to serve a minimum of 2-3 years in rural areas before giving the first promotion.
Lauding the Union Government for launching ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme to provide insurance cover to 10.74 crore deprived rural families, the Vice President described it as a “positive and progressive scheme. He said the Make in India programme should promote manufacturing medicines and devices in India at affordable prices
Observing that doctors are treated with reverence in India, he told them to treat patients with empathy and provide the much-needed human touch. Unfortunately, due to the present-day fast-paced lifestyles, doctors were not spending as much time as needed with each patient. This should change and doctors must spend more time with each patient like the family physician used to in the past, he added.
The Deputy Chief Minister of Telangana, Mohammed Mahmood Ali, the President of Indian Society of Organ Transplantation, K.L. Gupta and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.