Centre sends out alert to States on trading human organs


The Hindu

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Centre sends out alert to States, Union Territories on websites, social media trading human organs

The Union government has sent out an alert to all States/Union Territories on websites and social media groups engaged in illegal trading of human organ and called for stringent action.

According to official sources, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has made specific references to certain websites/social media groups offering huge money for kidneys and other organs.

In a communication, the Directorate General of Health Services said it had come to know that certain websites and social media posts were promoting and offering organ trading in violation of the provisions of Transplantation of Human Organ & Tissue Act (THOTA) 1994.

In one post published in the name of a popular hospital in Karnataka, an offer of ₹5 crore was made for a kidney matching certain parameters.

Sharing the web link and other such social media posts that were being shared regularly, the Centre said such activities were punishable offences under section 18 of the Act with fine ranging from ₹20 lakh to ₹1 crore and imprisonment ranging from five years to 10 years. This kind of illegal activities were a major hindrance to the national organ transplantation programme, the sources said.

Since Health and Law and Order were State subjects and therefore the States had the power to appoint an appropriate authority under THOTA to deal with commercial activities/organ trafficking, the communication addressed to Principal Health Secretaries said, “keeping in view of the gravity of the matter, you are requested to take necessary steps for prevention and control of organ trafficking and putting in place a system to monitor same.”

Several steps were being taken to create awareness among the people about the illegalities of obtaining organs through agents. In a bid to sensitise school students, a separate chapter on organ transplants was being included in the CBSE curriculum, the sources said.

The National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization, a national level organisation under Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, had been set up in pursuance to mandate given to central government for establishing a network for organ procurement, distribution and to maintain a national registry for the purpose of surveillance of organ donation and transplantation in the country.

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