The 16th Congress of the Asian Society of Transplantation (CAST) and the 30th Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation (ISOT) was held from 29th September to 2ndOctober, 2019 at India Exposition Mart Limited (IEML), Greater Noida, Delhi-NCR.
Deceased Donor Organ Transplantation in Asia – Invited Lectures and Panel Discussion
Dr. Sunil Shroff, Managing Trustee, MOHAN Foundation was invited to introduce a series of lectures by ahighly qualified group of experts on ‘Deceased Donor Organ Transplantation in Asia’ and then moderate a panel discussion on the topic. Dr. Shroff gave the introduction followed by perspectives from India (Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh), Turkey (Dr. Mehmet Haberal), Iran (Dr. Katyoun Najafizadeh) and China (Dr. Aijun Pan). Each of the speakers gave an overview of the regions in their country doing deceased donor transplantation, attitude of the public and medical professionals to organ donation, main provisions of the transplant law, number of live, DBD & DCD donation transplants done in the last 10 years, main challenges facing the deceased donation programme when it first started and at present, and recommendations to overcome these challenges. Following this Dr. Shroff moderated the panel discussion. The panelists included the speakers along with representatives from India (Dr. Arti Vij), Thailand (Dr. Adisorn Lumpaopong), South Korea (Jong Cheol Jeong) and Japan (Kenji Yuzawa). One of the pertinent questions was – ‘How can India help other SAARC or South Asian Countries in developing the Deceased Donation programme.’
Deceased Donor Transplantation – Symposium
Dr. Sunil Shroff also moderated a session on ‘Deceased donor Transplantation – A case-based Symposium.’ The panelists included Dr. Ashish Sharma, Dr. Vikas Jain, Dr. Manisha Sahay, Dr. Umesh Oza and Dr. Syed Jamal Rizvi. A system of voting was included in the session to get the opinion of the audience as well.
Annual Transplant Coordinators’ Conference
The Annual Transplant Coordinators’ Conference was organised by the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) in association with the Indian Association for Transplant Coordinators (IATC) under the aegis of AST and ISOT on 30th September and 1st October 2019. It was supported by PSG Hospitals and the Knowledge Partner was ORGAN India. At the inauguration, Prof. Anant Kumar, Organising Secretary, CAST 2019 and Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh, Director, NOTTO were felicitated.
Dr. Sumana Navin, Course Director, MOHAN Foundation was invited as faculty for three sessions at the conference. During her session ‘Scope of transplant coordination in India’ Dr. Sumana highlighted the various roles donned by transplant coordinators in India, their achievements, and the scope for coordinators. She also compared their role in India with other countries such as UK, Spain, Australia, and USA.
In her session ‘Conditional donation – Is it a way forward to increase the donor pool’ she put forth questions to the audience with the help of various case scenarios. There was an animated discussion about conditional donation to family members and to Indians only, and the need for transparency in organ allocation.
She also chaired the session on ‘Transplantation of Human Organs Act THOA) – Issue based discussions.’ The talks ‘Live donor transplant: lacuna in THOA in handling separated donor’ and ‘Deceased donor transplant: Definition of adult vs paediatric – What does THOA say?’ brought about interesting discussions about the difference between a divorced and a separated couple, how does adult deceased donation differ from paediatric donation, the definition of the word minor (not paediatric) in the law, and the forms that are used. The session also touched upon the procedure for unclaimed bodies and whether it has been done in India.
Eminent national and international faculty, both transplant coordinators and doctors, covered various topics, some of which were Initiatives by the Indian Government to improve the organ donation programme, Ethics in transplant coordination, Contribution by various NGOs in promoting the cause, Counselling families for hand and skin donation, Challenges in documenting swap donation, Women and kidney transplant, Ideal and marginal donor in deceased donor transplant – what a coordinator should know, Donor selection in living donor transplant, Identification and certification of brain death in Australia – how is it different from India. There were two panel discussions – one on ‘Brain death – “Clear the air” in the 25th year after THOA’ and the other on what India requires to meet the world standards in organ donation and transplantation. The second panel had State regulatory body representatives from Kerala, Pune, and Telangana sharing their views from the dais with Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh, Director, NOTTO moderating the discussion.
An interesting twist to the sessions was the role plays that were factored in as part of the schedule. Various groups brought out in creative ways what happens during a counselling session with the family and the organ donation process and discussion between donor hospitals and recipient hospitals. Participants were also given the opportunity to present during the free paper session and to display their posters.
An abstract on ‘Impact of Myths on Organ Donation and Transplantation in Movies and Television Serials on the Public in India’ by Ms. Ann Alex, Programme Associate, MOHAN Foundation was submitted and selected. She presented on the influence of media on the perception of organ donation and transplantation. She shared the example of the Amazon Prime series ‘Breathe’ and how stories like this can create a lot of confusion in the minds of the public. A poll was run on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram -will your information be misused to harm you once you pledge to be an organ donor. It was seen that majority of women are aware that this is a myth, and there are people working in the field of organ donation and transplantation who still think it is a fact. She then put forth recommendations on how media could help in spreading the message of organ donation and not to confuse the public further. She ended with the example of the Malayalam movie ‘Virus’ and how it is the perfect example of cinema being used to spread social good.