Essay Example on The development of organ transplant technologies in the 1980s









The development of organ transplant technologies in the 1980s led to a substantial improvement in health outcomes for people whose organs had stopped functioning properly and who were in need of new organs Initially starting with kidney transplants techniques and procedures to successfully transplant livers pancreas and hearts were also developed However these organs were in short supply since rates of cadaver donations i e the donation of organs immediately following death were and continue to be low It is also difficult to find a donor who is a match for the organ donation among the family members of the recipient In response to this low supply and a high demand for organs of different kinds unethical practices in organ transplants emerged 

The socio economic group most affected by these practices were those most desperately in need of money and who were willing to part with vital organs in exchange for monetary consideration People belonging to lower socio economic groups were also most vulnerable to being duped or coerced into parting with their organs and were seen to not have access to the legal system as recourse Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights ICESCR recognises the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health Further under the General Comment 14 on the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health there is a minimum core obligation on states to prevent the violation of the right to health by third parties Therefore states would be in violation of their international obligations under the ICESCR if they fail to prevent unethical and coerced organ transplants 

Additionally as part of their obligations to progressively realise the right to health states must also ensure that healthcare services are available accessible acceptable and of quality They must thus take measures to ensure that those in need of an organ or tissue transplant have access to a mechanism whereby they can legally seek a donor Thus in 2010 the World Health Assembly endorsed a set of Guiding Principles on Human Cell Tissue and Organ Transplantation These were intended to provide an orderly ethical and acceptable framework for organ transplants and to inform state policy in a way that ensures the realisation of the right to health In India the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 1994 the Act regulates organ transplants and bans the commercial trade in organs and tissues This legislation aims to provide a comprehensive legal framework to regulate the removal of organs from living as well as deceased persons After approximately 23 years since it was enacted and commercial trade in human organs and tissues was banned instances of kidney rackets and illegal trade in organs are still being reported Organ transplants are also out of reach for a majority of the population due to a shortage of organs inefficient and inequitable allocation of available organs lack of necessary infrastructure and the high costs of transplants There is thus a need to assess the functioning of the Act and determine how successful it has been in meeting its objectives In the international human rights literature there are benchmarks and indicators that can be used to assess the compliance of laws with human rights

4 There are three kinds of indicators i Structural indicators which focus on the nature strategy and policy framework of the law ii Process indicators which measure the ongoing efforts made by duty bearers to implement the law and iii Outcome indicators which demonstrate the extent to which the law or policy framework has been successful in achieving its intended goal 5 We draw upon some of this literature to analyse the Act measuring it against the Structural Process and Outcome Indicators to assess its compatibility with the right to health The objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of the law and examine the extent to which its provisions meet the requirements under the right to health The consequences of rising burden of non communicable diseases especially diabetes and hypertension living geriatric population and other risk exposures are propelling the graph of organ failure across the globe including India This in addition is causing morbidity mortality poor quality of life social and financial catastrophe of the health system Precious human lives can be saved if ethically good quality organs are retrieved from individual and transplanted to needed person in prescribed time frame However it is assuming public health significance due to ever increasing gap between need and supply of human organs Dead bodies are being burnt or buried without even iota of thought being shed on wastage of such vast natural reservoir This phenomenon is akin to scarcity in abundance as there is no lab manufactured product available until date Transplantation comprises the processes of organ donation OD and subsequent implantation or grafting Organ donation and transplantation ODT has roots in ancient Indian mythology with vivid examples such as guru Dadeech and Lord Ganesha considered epitomes of our rich culture tradition religion spirituality charity salvation and science

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