Women generous, men stingy as kidney donors

Highest number of donations at SKIMS transplant centre made by mothers
Women generous, men stingy as kidney donors
Representational Pic

Women in Kashmir are quite large-hearted when it comes to donating kidneys. As recipients, however, they are not as lucky as men.

From 1999, when kidney transplants were started at theSher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), till August last year,279 transplants have been carried out in Kashmir, according to data maintainedby Kidney Transplant Unit of the institute.

Of these 279 patients, at least 211 recipients, 75.6 percentof the total recipients, were males.

The rest were women, less than a quarter of all kidneyrecipients, although kidney diseases that warrant a transplant affect men andwomen similarly.

Prof Saleem Wani, head of Kidney Transplant Unit at SKIMS,expressed concern at gender disparity in kidney transplants.

"It is a genuine concern and needs to be looked intocollectively at societal level," he said.

On the other hand, when it comes to kidney donation, womenare at the forefront. Nearly two out of every three people donating a kidneyare women. At SKIMS, out of the 279 kidney donations, 168 (60.3 percent) havebeen done by women, while 111 (39.7 percent) kidney donations have been made bymen.

Mothers are the single largest category of kidney donors. AtSKIMS, nearly 32 percent of kidney donations have been done by mothers to theiroff-springs while fathers have been donors to about 14 percent recipients.

As per the data, wives donating a kidney to husband was alsocommon, with 50 such transplants carried out at SKIMS.

Prof Wani said the societal set-up, where male was seen as"the one doing physical labour" was contributing to the trend of lesser numberof them coming forward to donate.

Prof Wani said that the trend of wives donating a kidney tohusband was "old one" but the reverse was "quite rare".

"But it is picking up now," he said.

He said the trend picked up after an elderly Pulwama mandonated a kidney to his ailing wife at the SKIMS.

"People now see there have been examples in the past andthat motivates them. It is a ray of hope," Prof Wani said.

Kidney diseases affect thousands in Kashmir. In most ofthese cases, patients' kidneys are unable to perform the function of removingtoxins from body, necessitating lifelong dependence on dialysis or transplantof a healthy kidney.

Across genders, there was a huge gap between availabilityand demand of donors. Currently, all organs used in transplants are sourcedfrom living people in Kashmir. Prof Wani said that the problem could beaddressed by cadaver (deceased's body) transplantation.

However due to lack of awareness, infrastructure and anofficial sanction for it, no such program has been started here. Prof Wani saidthat a proposal for setting up a cadaver transplant institute had beensubmitted to SKIMS authorities but was yet to be approved. "Such a system willhelp in addressing gender disparity in kidney transplants to a great extent,"he said.

Director SKIMS Prof Omar Javed Shah said "solid organtransplants from cadavers" was being worked upon.

"It is my dream and a commitment to the institute to startsuch a center here," he said.

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