Chromepet (Chennai) Feb 2020 – According to the Directorate General of Health Services, out of the nearly 260,000 fatalities caused by liver diseases, 200,000 (76%) can be attributed directly to cases of liver failure and that on-time administration of a liver transplant could have saved nearly 10-15 percent of these lives. In fact, liver diseases still claim 3% of the total deaths in the country.
India is considered to be the most cost efficient country for transplants, in fact, having the lowest cost for transplants in the world. But among some of the critical organ transplants such as kidney, liver and heart, a liver transplant is still the most expensive. An average treatment cost ranges between Rs.15-30 lakh. Out of the estimated 5000+ annual requirements of liver transplants in India, less than 150 – 200 transplants are done every year. High costs are a major impediment to the treatment.
To address this highly under-represented ecosystem of Liver Diseases in the country, Rela Institute and Medical Centre (RIMC) and Milaap, South-Asia’s largest crowdfunding platform have joined hands to provide support to thousands of patients in India and abroad who are struggling with the financial crisis of an unprecedented medical situation.
Chennai-based Rela Institute and Medical Centre (RIMC) is a renowned name in the healthcare industry, not just in India but across the world. RIMC was established with a vision to provide outstanding clinical care with integrated highly qualified medical professionals, who are equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure. A pioneer in providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary and specialised services for liver diseases in the country, it is known as one of the most scientifically advanced hospitals in India with a multi-disciplinary team of Surgeons, Hepatologists, Intensive care, specialised in adult and paediatric care) under the able leadership of Prof. Mohamed Rela, Chairman & Managing Director at RIMC, a world renowned Liver transplant surgeon. The team has the experience of dealing with over 1500 liver transplants in the last 10 years.
The emergence of crowdfunding as a platform has come as a ray of hope to families crushed under the burden of the medical expenses from the treatment. In most of the emergency or tertiary healthcare causes, crowdfunding is not the only source of funding, and is often the last resort after exhausting all other avenues.
Milaap, South-Asia’s largest crowdfunding platform have helped people across all age groups and raised more than 60 Crores for Liver transplants. Till date platform has supported over 3000 fundraisers for Liver related ailments, of which more than half are for children.
Speaking about the collaboration, Prof Rela said, “For a patient living with liver disease, the financial burden can be tremendous. The cost of a liver transplant plus a lifelong commitment to immuno-suppressant is out of the reach of a common man. Our collaboration with Milaap has made liver transplants affordable for many. Their seamless process of raising funds and withdrawal has set a positive impact on the families, giving them hope at the most desperate time of their lives. Our unique initiative ensures that no family turns down the treatment owing to the cost, and we are happy that in just more than a year, more than 100 families have already benefited from this crowdfunding.”
He further added, “RIMC has the unique feature of performing both live donor (about 75%) and deceased donor liver transplantation (about 25%), which is considered to be the only program in India. We have the largest paediatric transplant program in India holding the credit for performing a liver transplant in the youngest child in the country(previous press release data to be quoted). We have performed the first split liver transplant and first Auxiliary transplant in India, both very innovative procedures requiring high technical expertise. These success stories attract patients from across the world, and we are glad that we are able to help them get a new lease on life with the best facilities and treatment irrespective of financial constraints. Other than LT, we offer multi-speciality care for all kinds of Neurological disorders, Cardiac Surgery and Advanced Paediatrics with BMT (Bone & Marrow Transplant).”
Speaking at the conference, Anoj Viswanathan, President and co-founder, Milaap, said, “When there is a cure, no matter how complicated or specialized, everyone deserves a fair chance to get life-saving treatment, and it’s heart-warming to see healthcare providers like RIMC going one step ahead to ensure people get the quality treatments and care they seek for their loved ones during tough times, without an ‘affordability’ criteria. Milaap aims to connect those in need with those who can help, and it is amazing to see how so many patients are helped by complete strangers.”
Present at the event was Adrika Das who was diagnosed with a rare genetic liver disorder Prothrombotic Disorder (Protein C Disorder) after birth. Adrika suffered from necrosis on various body parts and has undergone her treatment at Rela Institute and Medical Centre, Chennai for a liver transplant. Her campaign on Milaap raised an astounding sum of Rs 33 lakh overnight, which not only covered Adrika’s liver transplant but also a follow-up surgery to remove part of her intestine.