Under the aegis of National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India, MOHAN Foundation in collaboration with Zonal Transplant Coordination Centre (ZTCC) - Pune conducted a one week Transplant Coordinators’ Training Programme from 16th to 20th January 2017 at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital (DMH), Pune, Maharashtra. There were 51participants not only from different places in Maharashtra, but also Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. This was the 41st training programme conducted by MOHAN Foundation and the seventh in partnership with NOTTO.
Dr. Vimal Bhandari, Director, NOTTO, Maj. Gen. Sandeep Biswas (Retd), Chairman ZTCC – Pune, Mrs. Arati Gokhale, Central Coordinator ZTCC – Pune were present at the inauguration. MOHAN Foundation was represented by Mrs. Lalitha Raghuram, Country Director, Dr. Sumana Navin, Course Director and Ms. Pallavi Kumar, Executive Director Delhi-NCR.
Dr. Vimal Bhandari said that transplant coordinators were a vital part of the organ donation and transplantation taskforce in the country. He outlined the role of NOTTO and said that it was constantly working on involving all stakeholders – both regional and state. He said that NOTTO had brought out updated allocation criteria for kidney, liver, heart, lung, heart-lung and cornea (www.notto.gov.in). He added that it was imperative that all transplant centres register with NOTTO and that they share data to ensure transparency.
The session on ‘Transplantation ethics’ was taken by Dr. Dominique Martin, Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism, Deakin University, Australia. Transplantation ethics is a branch of medical ethics dealing with issues relating to policy and practice in donation and transplantation. Dr. Martin put forth some ‘hot topics’ that were currently being debated in India and invited the participants to share their opinions. The topics related to financial incentives for deceased donation, confidentiality in deceased donation and directed/conditional donation.
Dr. Prasad Akole and Dr. Prasad Rajhans from DMH gave a comprehensive overview of the diagnosis and certification of brainstem death, and maintenance of a potential deceased organ donor, respectively. Films on the topic were also screened. Dr. Vaishaly Bharambe from Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College spoke on whole body donation and the procedure involved in voluntary donation of the body. She emphasised that it was important for medical students to learn to deal with death and treat the dead body with respect. This invaluable experience made them more humane. Dr. Sameer Datar, DMH took the session on eye donation and eye banking and Dr. Jaysingh Shinde on skin donation and skin banking. A film ‘Phir Zindagi’ produced by ZTCC, Pune was screened. It was a great hit with the participants!
Dr. Tushar Dighe spoke about kidney diseases and renal replacement therapy. He shared useful links with the participants (www.kidney.org, nkdep.nih.gov, www.kidney.org.au, www.nephron.com) to name a few. This was followed by sessions on kidney transplant, multi-visceral and intestine transplant by Dr. Vrishali Patil, DMH. She walked the participants through an excellent animation of kidney transplant surgery followed by a video of the actual surgery. Colourful and concise handouts were also given. Dr. Patil was a part of the team from DMH that did the first Simultaneous Pancreas Kidney (SPK) transplant in Western India in November 2016. The participants also had the wonderful opportunity of listening to Mr. Pavan Motwani, the recipient. He was only nine years old when he was diagnosed with diabetes. He said that now at 29 the transplant had wrought a miraculous change in his life.
Mr. Aniruddha Kulkarni from Jupiter Hospital, Mumbai spoke extensively on the procedures that were followed in organ donation in medicolegal cases. He also moderated the ‘Role play’ by the participants on counselling a family for organ donation.
Dr. Ninad Deshmukh, DMH made an extremely lucid presentation on liver disease, liver failure and liver transplantation. He also showed excerpts of a liver transplant surgery. This was followed by interesting sessions on heart failure and heart transplant by Dr. Sanjeev Jadhav, bone donation and bone banking by Dr. Yogesh Panchwagh, Heart valve (homograft) donation and banking by Dr. Manoj Durairaj. Mrs. Surekha Joshi, senior transplant coordinator, Ruby Hall Clinic shared her experiences in the session ‘Champion speaks.’ She was awarded the second prize among transplant coordinators by NOTTO on the occasion of the 7th National Organ Donation Day in November 2016. The session on role of media was done by Dr. Sumana Navin courtesy Mr. R. K. Radhakrishnan, Associate Editor, Frontline, Chennai who shared his presentation. Ms. Rohini Sahasrabudhe from KEM Hospital, Pune who has worked in the field as a renal social worker and coordinator for 35 years made a sensitive presentation on living related organ transplant.
Mrs. Arati Gokhale made an excellent presentation with practical insights on the last day of the training with the narration of her journey as a social worker/coordinator, the early challenges in ZTCC - Pune and the successes, as well as her experiences in organising ‘Green Corridors’ – 17 of them in one year! The participants then got down to the group activity, which was on creating a poster to publicise the helpline of a local NGO ‘Rebirth’ among school and college students. The first prize winners received ‘Share Life Save Life’T-shirts and the second prize winners ‘Proud to be an organ donor’ fridge magnets from MOHAN Foundation.
Through the five days of training, the MOHAN Foundation faculty covered the basic concepts of organ donation and transplantation, legal framework, approaching families for organ donation, donor stories, starting a deceased donation programme in a hospital, qualities and role of a transplant coordinator, public awareness on organ donation, history of transplantation, an overview of the deceased donation programme in India and the world, state based organizations and NGOs working in the field. A team quiz and test were also held.
At the valedictory function, Miss. Srushti, a student of IX Std. at St. Helena’s High School in Pune spoke about organ donation. Her mother Dr. Sushma Patil, an intensivist at Ruby Hall Clinic said that Srushti had picked the topic on her own for her Speaking Skills class in school. What she quoted, in a way, captured the essence of the training programme, “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
Dr. Vimal Bhandari congratulated the participants on completing the training programme and presented the NOTTO certificates.