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Health Ministry in India Takes Action Against Illegal Organ Transplantations Involving Foreigners

In response to growing concerns over illegal organ/tissue transplantations involving foreigners, the Health Ministry in India has initiated measures to curb violations and establish monitoring systems. Seeking assistance from the Ministry of External Affairs, the Health Ministry aims to address issues related to the authenticity of documents used to establish relationships between donors and recipients, as well as their identity and proof of residence.

In a letter dated January 30, Mr. Chandra, a representative of the Health Ministry, highlighted the need to verify the veracity of such documents. The Ministry has also requested the dissemination of rules under the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994, to all embassies/missions of foreign countries in India and to the concerned governments if an embassy/mission is not present in India.

Furthermore, the Health Ministry has called for the identification of a nodal officer by the Ministry of External Affairs to coordinate organ donation and transplantation for foreigners, with communication to the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO).

India has recently adopted the "One Nation, One Policy" for organ donation and transplantation, removing the requirement of domicile for registration of patients requiring organ transplantation from deceased donors. Additionally, the upper age limit of 65 years for eligibility for registration to receive deceased donor organs has been removed, allowing individuals of any age to register.

According to data from NOTTO, 15,561 organ transplants were conducted in India in the calendar year 2022. These efforts aim to ensure that organ transplant procedures are conducted ethically and legally, with a focus on transparency and accountability.



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