(First part of exclusive three-part series on organ donation by Medindia)
A single deceased donor can save up to nine lives through organ transplantation and help over 50 patients with tissue donation and it is the difficult job of the transplant coordinators to counsel the family for organ donation with soon-to-be-bereaved families. The transplant coordinators are always engaged in selfless act of lifesaving.
AdvertisementCountries having successful deceased donation program have a better network of well-trained transplant coordinators.
Even after the demand for organ transplantation has rapidly increased all over the world, only a few countries like Spain and India have structured training programs for transplant coordinators.
Setting an example for others to follow, the MOHAN (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network) Foundation, an NGO that has been working in the field of deceased organ donation for the past 18 years, has successfully been conducting the 'Transplant Coordinators' Training Program since 2009.
The NGO has trained 837 transplant coordinators in different cities in India as well as abroad. The training program is the only structured course for organ transplant coordinators in South Asia. The registration for this course is subsidized due to part funding from the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai.
29th Training Program Held in Chennai
The valedictory function of the 29th training program was held in Chennai, a southern city of India on May 29, 2015. Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu was the chief guest.
While speaking about the importance of coordinated effort of the government and private sector and non-profit organizations to improve organ donation, J. Radhakrishnan said the government is ready to collaborate its efforts in organ donation program with MOHAN Foundation.
"The government will support MOHAN Foundation in their efforts to improve organ donation. We will give space to the Foundation at Tamil Nadu Government Multi-Super-Specialty Hospital to conduct its transplant coordinator training program," he said.
Dr Sunil Shroff, founder of MOHAN Foundation, said that transplant coordinators are lifesavers.
"Transplant coordinators can do better than doctors in organ donation. They can save many lives. Hence, it is important to provide them with adequate training. The course from the Mohan Foundation gives them training on various aspects of organ donation ranging from organ failure to organ donation laws and ethics. The program is getting very good response in India and from neighboring countries," Dr. Shroff said.
Dr.Sumana Navin, the course director, said that transplant coordinators play a key role in the success of an organ donation.
"The Transplantation of Human Organs (Amendment) Act, 2011, has made transplant coordinator nomination mandatory before a hospital is registered as a transplant center. This means there is a huge requirement for trained transplant coordinators in close to 400 transplant centers in the country. Our training program aims to bridge this gap and address issues related to organ donation," she said.
The Course Getting Worldwide Attention
The 29th training program also saw participation of transplant coordinators not only from various parts of the country, but also from Botswana and the USA.
Bantshi, a nurse from Botswana, said that she had learnt a lot from the course. "Now, I'm in a position to explain the importance of organ donation and can convince people to organ donation. Actually, I'm planning to use the knowledge to create awareness about organ donation in Botswana. Botswana is yet to be familiar with the concept of organ donation and there is no trained doctors or facilities for organ donation. The training program of MOHAN Foundation puts me in a big responsibility," she said.
Hvovi Minocherhomji, a heart transplant recipient from Mumbai, was a participant in the program. She received the heart transplant in June 2014 thanks to a deceased donor in the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai. She is now a strong advocate of the deceased donation program and wants to 'give back' by spreading the message.
"It was a great experience for me. Trainers are actually sharing their experience with organ donors and recipients. The program was truly inspiring and I want to create awareness about organ donation, particularly in my state, Mumbai, where hospitals hardly conduct heart transplants," she said.
MOHAN Foundation to Collaborate with Indian Government
Having seen worldwide attention for the training program, the MOHAN Foundation plans to conduct more training programs across the globe. The Foundation will also conduct training programs in collaboration of Indian government and state governments and private organizations. They will start a training program for transplant coordinators in association with National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization of Government of India in July.