Tamilnadu organ donation is model for other States

Chennai: With Tamilnadu leading in organ donation and transplantation Р6,886 organs harvested from 1,198 donors Рit is evident that people are increasingly willing to pledge for a noble cause. On the occasion of 9th Indian Organ Donation Day programme in New Delhi, State Health Minister, Dr C Vijayabaskar, Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (Transtan) Member-Secretary, Dr R Kanthimathy, and other authorities were awarded for topping the list.

News Today gets into conversation with Dr Sunil Shroff, the founder-trustee of Mohan (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network) Foundation that has been working towards organ donation and transplantation for several years now.

Mohan Foundation has been supporting the State apex body, Transtan, right from the beginning on various fronts. The non-governmental organisation (NGO) provides capacity building through employing counsellors in government hospitals across Tamilnadu and training coordinators and doctors. In addition, the NGO creates awareness in educational institutions and corporates.

Here are the excerpts from the interview:

On TN’s achievement

Organ transplantation are very critical and should be performed within the stipulated time. As soon as the donor’s family consents to donate organs, finding the right recipient would be a challenge. The complexity of the process is extremely high and Tamilnadu has been a front-runner in pledging organs.

Dr Sunil Shroff

On the State’s unique model

To facilitate the smooth flow of the process, Tamilnadu is the only State in the country which has passed 12 Government Orders (GOs) detailing the procedure step by step. It should also be noted that the model of organ transplantation in Tamilnadu has been taken as an example by States like Rajasthan, Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Since 2000, the State has had a systematic, transparent and advanced procedure in place to facilitate organ transplantation. Right from classification, allocation and waiting list, everything is computerised and documented to maintain accountability.

On awareness front

In Tamilnadu, almost 15-20 per cent of families consent positively for harvesting organs of a deceased person. The State has been leading in eye donation for many years but many people do not speak about it, including in international programmes.

On the level of awareness in non-metro cities, the State ranks first where most of the tier-2 districts such as Salem, Madurai, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Trichy have many donors.

People even call us during weddings, birthday parties and other religious occasions. The trend is becoming quite popular in the State. More people are coming forward willingly for a cause.

Heart transplant

There is an international challenge in getting the right donor for heart as it should be utilised within 4-5 hours. Only 6,000 hearts are used for transplantation every year, whereas 40,000-50,000 kidneys are transplanted.

However, heart valves are utilised in most of the incidences.

On organ utilisation and preservation

If there is no recipient found immediately, the harvested organs will not be utilised. A majority of the organs is used judiciously. Since the time-frame for kidney and liver is 48 hours and 12 hours, – highest among other organs – they are appropriately used.

Technological advancements in preserving donor’s blood is a growing niche area. With the advanced resources, the organs are preserved at normothermic temperature where the organs are preserved at body temperature with the circulation of blood and fluids as against 4 degree Celsius temperature. The equipment are used in a few private hospitals.

Infrastructural development in GHs

We have to ensure the organs are safe and have not contracted any disease for which good labs and hihg -precision equipment are mandatory. These have been developed in government hospitals.

Private hospitals and organ allocation

Eighty per cent of the organs that come into the pool are from private hospitals and 20 per cent, from State-owned sources. The way distribution works is, for instance, if a kidney is received, priority goes to a government hospital. When kidney is donated, one will remain in the hospital and the other will go to the common pool, even if the common pool is in a private hospital. As far as liver and heart are concerned, as there is no proper transplant programmes, the organs go to private hospitals from government hospitals.

Hithendran effect

In 2009, there was a doctor couple from Thirukazhukundram whose 15-year-old son was declared brain dead after an accident. The parents decided to donate his organs which attracted huge traction all over the country and it had a cascading effect on organ donation.

Bhavani Prabhakar