Use CSR Budget to Fund Liver Transplants in Children: Doctors

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BENGALURU : Doctors and other stakeholders involved in liver transplantation in Karnataka are working towards getting industries utilize their corporate social responsibility (CSR) budget to fund liver transplants, especially among children.

With a similar initiative working well in Tamil Nadu and Assam, like-minded doctors from the State who have formed the Integrated Liver Care (ILC) Foundation are planning to discuss the plan with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Three paediatric transplants performed recently at BGS Global Hospitals have been funded by the ILC Foundation in corporate partnership from the IT sector.

Sonal Asthana, consultant, Multi Organ Transplant Surgeon at the hospital, who is also part of the ILC Foundation, told  that the idea was to get the industries pool in CSR funds into priority areas in healthcare, especially paediatric liver transplants.

Kaiser Raja, Consultant Hepatologist at BGS, said liver transplants are expensive and range between Rs. 20 lakh to Rs. 25 lakh depending on the condition of patients. Although paediatric transplants cost less, most patients cannot afford it even if they have living related donors.

Christopher Taylor Barry, Advisory Board Member, MOHAN Foundation, who is also the Transplant Consultant to the Government of Rajasthan, said he had already initiated a discussion on this with FICCI in Rajasthan.

Dr. Asthana said although CSR funding for healthcare is happening at an informal level, “we are looking at getting it done in an organised manner”

In October 2014, a National Policy Round Table was held in Lucknow on “Deceased Donor Organ Transplantation in India-Converting Challenges into Opportunities” Dr. Asthana, who was part of the Round Table, said certain recommendations were made to the Union government after the conference.

TRANSPLANTS:

BGS Global Hospitals has performed 100 liver transplants since 2011. Hospital Vice-Chairperson Venkataramana N.K. said for 64 of the 100 transplants, liver came from brain dead donors. “Seven per cent of these transplants were performed on children,” he said.

What private sector can do: (1) Fund the setting up of an Indian National Transplant Registry (2) Fund organ donation awareness activities (3) Help with logistics of donor maintenance and organ transport (4) Establish a funding mechanism for transplantation in the underprivileged community.

*News first appeared with The Hindu

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