Many 'firsts' were achieved at the 29th Transplant Coordinators' Training Programme held in Chennai in May 2015.
A heart transplant recipient underwent training.
There was international representation - participants and faculty.
The mother of a deceased donor from Indore shared her experience. Mrs. Anita Mantri donated the organs of her 18-year-old son Anshul when he became brain dead after a train accident in Mumbai in January 2014.
And this was the first time, at the valedictory function, that we had the privilege of having Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of Tamil Nadu in our midst at MOHAN Foundation.
There were 27 participants not only from various parts of the country (Chennai, Kolkata, Mangalore, Nagpur), but also from Botswana - Ms. Tebogo Bantshi from Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone. There were also three participants who had registered for the six months training. It was a mixed group of nurses, social workers, laboratory and dialysis technologists. In addition, a heart transplant recipient also underwent the training. Ms. Hvovi Minocherhomji, 21, from Mumbai received the heart transplant thanks to a deceased donor in the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai in June 2014. She is now a strong advocate of the deceased donation programme and wants to ‘give back’ by spreading the message. There was also a research fellow (Thomas J. Watson Fellowship) from USA, Ms. Simone Schriger, who was there to observe and learn from the programme. Her project was about the donation of different parts of the human body and to look at the psychological and cultural factors that influence donation patterns in different countries. She spent six months in South Africa, where she worked alongside Dr. Elmi Muller (from whom she originally heard about MOHAN Foundation) learning about HIV positive organ donors and the climate around organ donation in South Africa. She shared some of her perspectives with the other participants.
Transplant coordinators deal with counselling the families of brain dead patients, coordinating the retrieval and transplantation of organs/tissues, and looking after recipients – pre and post transplant. They need to be cognizant of the medical, legal and ethical aspects of organ donation and transplantation. The training programme covered all of these aspects with sessions by eminent medical professionals and senior transplant coordinators. There were also in-depth interactive sessions on counselling, soft skills, Human Resource & Organisational Behaviour. Video lectures by experts and films on brain-stem death testing, multi-organ retrieval, transplant surgeries, public education on organ donation, various religions and their views about organ donation were screened. A number of hands-on group activities were given to the participants. The MOHAN Foundation faculty in Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi (via Skype) also shared their immense experience and expertise. The participants were taken for field visits to a dialysis unit, blood bank and eye bank.
At the valedictory function, the participants received their completion certificates from Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu. Dr. Radhakrishnan said that transplant coordinators play a pivotal role in deceased organ donation. He expressed his appreciation for the work that was being done by MOHAN Foundation. From December 2009 to May 2015, MOHAN Foundation has trained 838 transplant coordinators in different cities in India as well as Bangladesh. Their efforts have resulted in the retrieval of 3500 organs and tissues from across the country in the past five years. MOHAN Foundation’s transplant coordinators’ training programme is the only structured course that is being offered in South Asia. It is supported by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust and Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai.