Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Hindu
The Hindu
Afshan Yasmeen

Donations at only skin bank in Karnataka nearing 200

Donations at Karnataka’s first and only skin bank in the government-run Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru are nearing 200. Since its inception in March 2016, the bank has received 195 donations, of which 60 have been recorded from January 2022 onwards. As of now, the bank has a stock of 10,000 sqcm.

The bank, set up in association with Rotary Ashirvad, has been able to meet about 63% of the demand by patients for skin. While the bank has received requests from 310 patients for skin so far, it has been able to cater to only 194.

Requests from neighbours

“We are now getting requests from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Odisha too. While organ donation is picking up in Karnataka, awareness about the concept of skin donation is yet to catch up,” K.T. Ramesh, Head of the Department of Plastic Surgery in Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI), told The Hindu on August 30.

“Although the number of donations picked up in May 2023, subsequently, there has been a dip. To popularise the concept of skin donation, we are intensifying general awareness programmes by visiting educational institutions and old age homes, apart from social media promotions,” he said.

Donations since inception

Skin donations more than doubled from 18 in 2016, the year of inception, to 40 in 2017, but began declining after that. While there were 33 donations in 2018, the next year saw 17 donations.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit Karnataka in 2020, there were just nine donations. This number doubled to 18 in 2021, and further rose to 40 in 2022. This year so far, the bank has received 20 donations.

As many as  44 patients benefitted through the bank this year so far. 

Apart from requests from hospitals across Karnataka and neighbouring States, the bank has catered to several patients at the Mahabodhi burns ward in Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru. “The burns ward gets nearly 220 admissions every month, of which over 70% are serious cases. Over 20% of the total 194 beneficiaries so far are from the burns ward,” Dr. Ramesh said.

“The skin bank is a boon for patients, as there is no blood group matching required in skin grafting. Anyone over the age of 18, who does not have any skin disease or infection, can donate skin,” Dr. Ramesh said.

Myths about donation

Attributing the fall in the number of donations in the last three months to stigma and a lack of awareness, senior nursing officer Nagaraj B.N., who is the coordinator at the bank, said people are ready to donate eyes and other organs, but are not convinced about donating skin as they feel it will disfigure the body. “That is a myth as only the outer layer of the skin from the thighs and legs (1,000 to 1,500 sqcm) will be removed,” he said.

Among the recipients, while the youngest is a four-year-old boy, the oldest is an 85-year-old male. Among donors, the youngest is a 17-year-old male while the oldest is a 98-year-old male.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.