By Lanka Samanth and Rudrankar Raha.
Only 2000 transplants were done this year, but over a lakh are needed, say doctors.
Over a lakh bone marrow transplants are needed in the country, but only 2000 were performed this year, said Dr. Sunil Bhatt, a pediatric oncologist.
“Ideally in India 80,000 to 1,00,000 children are born with serious blood-related disorders and same BMTs should be performed every year, but only 2000 BMTs have been operated this year. Over the past 35 years 15000 BMTs were operated,” he said.
Doctors are of the opinion that taboos and superstitions prevent Indians from donating bone marrow and stem cells. “There is a myth among Indian people that organ donation is a bad omen, and people who are suffering from lethal health issues like immunodeficiency disorders, congenital storage disorders, Leukemia, Aplastic anemia, Thalassemia are considered as taboo,” said Dr. Natraj, oncologist.
“Stem cells present in our body can survive for 800-900 years. On individual stem cell will help another person’s life who is suffering from the blood-related disorder. As we are advancing technologically, the medical field is creating wonders using technology. It will create a revolution in organ donation if we all unite,” said Dr. Sharad Damodar, Clinical doctor, Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre.
He explained, “a 17-year-old boy is now a grown up and leading his life normally. When I had treated him and operated BMT he was a four-month-old baby. Likewise, 1000 people have faced difficulties and are now back to their normal life after BMT.”
BMT is not under any government health scheme in Karnataka. Assam and Tamil Nadu are the only governments releasing funds and crowdfunding added to help poor and middle-class people to get treatment. “It can save many lives if Karnataka government supports BMT,” said Zenith (name changed) who’s bone marrow was transplanted successfully.