Is Tamil Nadu the ‘Spain of India’ in Deceased Donation Programme?

by Dr.Sumana Navin on  September 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
MOHAN Foundation successfully conducted the third of the awareness programme on deceased organ donation and brain death at Rajiv Gandhi Govt. General Hospital, Chennai, South India on Saturday 3rd September 2011. This initiative was done in collaboration with Directorate of Health services, Government of India, World Health Organization, Cadaver transplant Programme, Tamil Nadu and Madras Medical College, Chennai.
 Is Tamil Nadu the ‘Spain of India’ in Deceased Donation Programme?
Is Tamil Nadu the ‘Spain of India’ in Deceased Donation Programme?

The success of any deceased donor transplant programme is a tribute to all organ donors and their families. On this occasion eight donor families who had recently donated organs of their loved ones from Chennai were honored by the chief guest Dr.R.K.Srivastava (Director General of Health, Govt of India) and Dr.Mayvil Vahan Natrajan (Vice Chancellor - Dr.MGR Medical University, Chennai).

In Tamil Nadu there are 500 such families and in the last three years alone there have been donations from almost 200 such families. In India, in the last 16 years there have been 1800 solid organs transplanted from deceased donors. But the need for organs is a lot more. There are 7.35 million people in some stage of renal failure and of these 2.1 lakhs are in the end stage kidney failure needing transplants. The story with other solid organs such as liver and heart is no different. However, India is barely doing 3,000 kidneys, 500 liver and 25 heart transplants.

The gap is huge and deceased donation programme is the only way forward to make up this deficit. There is a need to tap into our large pool of brain dead patients available from a huge number of road traffic accidents—almost 140,000 road traffic accidents with 93,000 brain deaths among them. They say deceased donation is an impossible programme and it will not succeed in India. But Tamil Nadu has made the impossible possible.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Srivastava, said that the national transplant programme would soon be launched and partnership with NGOs like MOHAN Foundation would help the programme. He was very appreciative of the Tamil Nadu programme and said that the first target after the launch of the national programme would be to bring the national average to 1.3 per million donation rate like Tamil Nadu. He also said that tissues like skin and bone were included in the new Act that has just been passed by the parliament.

Dr.Srivastava also launched the one year Post Graduate Diploma in Transplant Coordination and Grief counseling by MOHAN Foundation in collaboration with Indira Gandhi Open University.

Dr. Mayilvahanan Natarajan, Vice Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University said that he had established the Bone bank in Govt. general Hospital many years ago and was appreciative of the work done by MOHAN Foundation and said that if it was not for them this programme would not have come so far in Tamil Nadu.

In his address Dr.Sunil Shroff managing trustee of MOHAN Foundation said - "Tamil Nadu (TN) not only has the highest number of eye donations at almost 15,000 last year but also the highest deceased donation rate. While last year the national average of deceased donation was 0.3 per million population TN's was 10 times higher at 1.3 per million population. Currently Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Gujarat do 95% of all deceased donation transplants in India and Tamil Nadu does 60 % of these. Those in the transplant programme are already saying TN is the 'Spain of India.' The tribute may sound a bit premature, but DD transplants here are providing 25% of all kidney and 90% of all liver transplants being done in the state. All this has been possible due to the coming together of the Policy makers from the Government, the public and private hospitals, NGOs, support of the media and most significantly, the public."

Others who spoke during the function included Dr. V. Kanagasabai, Dean, Madras Medical College, Dr. Palani, Medical Superintendent, Rajiv Gandhi Govt. General Hospital and Dr.Nirmal Joe.

Dr.Sumana Navin, Course Director from MOHAN Foundation took the audience through the 15 years journey of MOHAN Foundation and emphasized the need to educate not only the general public but also the medical community about the deceased donation programme. She also emphasized the need to train transplant coordinators and said how MOHAN Foundation had so far trained 226 participants over the last 3 years. However, there was a need of 1000 such coordinators in the country.

R.Veena, Transplant coordinator, MOHAN Foundation shared her experience in Rajiv Gandhi Govt. General Hospital with 81 counseling sessions with donor families and had success with 52 saying 'Yes' for donation.

A symposium on Brain death organized in the same premises in the morning featured some important topics listed below:-

1. Brain Death Identification & Certification- Dr. K. Deiveegan, Neuro Surgeon, Rajiv Gandhi Govt. General Hospital, Chennai

2. Brain Death Maintenance- Dr. T. Venkatachalam, Anesthetist, Rajiv Gandhi Govt. General Hospital, Chennai

3. Complex Reflexes- Dr. Mathew Joseph, Intensivist, CMC, Vellore

4. Pediatric Brain Death Identification & Certification- Dr. K.G. Ravikumar, Intensivist, Child Trust Hospital, Chennai

5. Ancillary Tests- Dr. Dhanraj, Neurologist, Apollo Hospital, Chennai

6. Medico Legal Procedures & Documentation- Dr. J. Amalorpavanathan, Convenor, Tamil Nadu Cadaver Transplant Program.

An intercollegiate street play that had 6 teams participating from various colleges took place parallely in another auditorium. The prize winning two teams from Madras Medical Mission and Loyola College performed in front of a large audience.

A lot of learning is possible from the Tamil Nadu deceased donation programme. Dr.Shroff said that it had evolved over the last 15 years and was now more robust than before. Systems were in place with an online registry of recipients, brain deaths were being identified and certified regularly at least in a few hospitals, counseling services were constantly supporting the family and the central office ensured equitable distribution of organs. He added that the programme needed to do more but a start had been made and there was no looking back from here.

About MOHAN Foundation

MOHAN Foundation (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization started to promote organ donation in 1997 in Chennai by philanthropists and medical professionals. Headquartered in Chennai, it has offices in Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Visakhapatnam, Chandigarh and New Delhi. It also has now an office in the United States.

For more information please contact - MOHAN Foundation (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network), Toshniwal Bldg, 3rd Floor, 267, Kilpauk Garden road, Chennai - 600 010. Ph: 044-26447000 / 9444607000 or visit their website-

Source: Medindia

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