How to reach children in need of a Liver Transplant? Out of the two thousand children who need a liver transplant in India each year, approximately a hundred and fifty children get access to it. Why are 90% of the children who need transplants not getting the medical support they need? In search of these answers and to identify ways to reach children in need of a liver transplant, The Pravin Agarwal Foundation on the eve of the World Organ Donation Day, hosted a panel discussion to discuss ways to improve the outreach of Paediatric Liver Transplants in India. The main barriers to referrals identified were the cost of the surgery and the lack of awareness amongst doctors and patients regarding the available financial assistance. Paediatricians are reluctant to refer their patients because of information bias regarding the high success rate of the surgery. The mindset of the patient’s family, the option of conceiving another child, aversion to surgery for the healthy ‘liver donor’, and prohibitive costs leave the diseased children no hope to get the necessary treatment.
How can Paediatric Liver Transplants be made more affordable? For a surgery that costs a fortune, making it affordable is a necessary challenge. The total cost of any transplant depends upon the type of the hospital, type of the transplant and the length of stay in the hospital. The price includes capital or infrastructure costs, cost of the equipment, staff salaries, and consumables. The reduction in costs is dependent upon the willingness of the senior leadership and hospitals to conduct the surgeries at low or no-profit margin. Private hospitals that were provided subsidised land are mandated to render 10% of their services free of cost. Apart from this, 2% of profits are to be spent for Corporate Social Responsibility. In certain states Government schemes, like the Chief Minister’s scheme in Tamil Nadu and National Rural Health Mission in Assam, subsidise costs of liver transplants for patients and can be replicated in other states in India.
India is the land of giving and with technological advancements, giving has taken new avenues. Crowdfunding is growing to become a popular channel of financing. Since a crowd can be wiser than an individual, crowdfunding has the potential to tap the online market of $400-500 million. On these platforms, potential donors are able to witness the impact of their donation as they are actively updated about the progress of the child. Milaap and Ketto are playing an instrumental role in raising funds to support healthcare needs of Patients.
Srikrishna Sridhar Murthy
Chief Executive Officer
Sattva Consulting Services
The Pravin Agarwal Foundation celebrated the World Organ Donation Day with six families of children who have undergone Liver Transplant surgery. Families came together from Kochi, Chittoor, Hubli, Delhi and Mumbai to this occasion. Parents watched their children play with balloons and get their caricatures made with joy. Eleven-year-old Kabir*, who had the surgery last year, loves to dance and enthralled the audience with his moves. Baby Ronak*, who was operated just earlier this year, enjoys poems and recited one for everyone at the event. The parents got a chance to interact with other parents who have been through a similar journey and shared their experiences, building a peer group that will always be willing to support other parents of children who need a liver transplant.
*Names changed to protect patient privacy