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Kerala Tops in Organ Donation, Delhi & Maharashtra Next, But India Still Has a Long Way To Go

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Despite the stunted number of organ donations in India, Kerala is the number one state with maximum people pledging to donate organs when they die.

According to government data, around 1.30 lakh people have pledged to donate organs in Kerala, whereas in Delhi, around 58,000 pledges have been registered. Maharashtra stands third with little over 49,000 pledges.

India has one of the lowest organ donation rates per million population. “It stands around 0.4 per million population whereas the rate exceeds 40-45 per million population in several countries across the globe, including Spain, US and Croatia,” Sunayana Singh, chief executive officer at NGO ORGAN India, told

Singh said India has not registered donations made by more than 1,000 people every year, but 2023 looks promising.

“Post-Covid donation has been picked up. This year, we may breach 1,000 donors per year benchmark. The government and the private sector both are working along with NGOs to make it happen.”

Bihar stands at 5,629 pledges, whereas Chandigarh registered 6,186 pledges and Haryana registered 18,522.

Some of the poor performing states include Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh, apart from Union Territories.

“Some states show high pledges because of the efforts put in by their state governments,” Singh said. “In Kerala, the state government has always been very proactive and education also plays a good role.”

All the decently performing states have the entire machinery working in favour of organ donation eco-system, including NGOs and private sector.

Living Donors Donating More Than Deceased

The data shows that in 2020, around 6,459 organs were donated by living donors, and 1,060 organs were donated by deceased donors. In 2022, 12,791 organs were donated by living donors, whereas 904 organs were donated by deceased donors.

The number has been going up but mostly for living donors, which is not seen as a healthy trend promoting organ donation.

The trend should be the other way round. Generally, living donors donate during high-need circumstances in the family when there is no availability of donated organs in banks.

In India, more than 70-80% of organs are donated by living donors because very few people and families opt for post-death donations. Hence, in the hour of urgency, patients need to turn to family members.

Trend Must Reverse

According to information given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the Rajya Sabha, many initiatives have been planned and launched across India.

The government is taking several steps to increase awareness on organ donation. In the guidelines, the upper age limit of 65 years for eligibility for registration to receive deceased donor organs has been removed. Now, a person of any age can register for receiving deceased donor organs.

Other activities include dissemination of information by NOTTO, ‘Regional Organ and Tissue Transplant Organizations (ROTTOs)’ and ‘State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organizations (SOTTOs)’, the three-tiered structure set up under the National Organ Transplant Program (NOTP).

Apart from launching helplines and setting up call centres to provide information, a number of activities have been organized across the country to create awareness. These include celebration of Indian Organ Donation Day annually, seminars, workshops, debates, sports events, walkathons, participation in marathons, street theatre, awareness stalls at the India International Trade Fair and NOTTO Scientific Dialogue.

“Display boards on organ donation are put up outside ICUs and other strategic locations in the transplant/retrieval hospitals, advertisement in print media; dissemination of audio and audio-visual messages through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube channel have been planned.”

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