Published on February 1, 2020

AHMEDABAD: A year after setting up the State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (SOTTO), Gujarat will now launch a dedicated website for coordination of cadaver organ donation. Dr Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary, health, informed the same on Friday to participants of the 3rd roundtable on organ donation organized by The Times of India (TOI) and Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital (KDAH) in Ahmedabad. Ravi said the website will be launched in February, within a month.

“The development is in final stage. After deliberations, it was decided that it would be modelled on the NOTTO website and hosted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to address safety and privacy concerns,” said Dr Ravi. States like Tamil Nadu and Kerala already have such websites in place.

The roundtable was also attended by Jai Prakash Shivahare, commissioner (health); Dr Somnath Chattopadhyay and Dr Santosh Shetty from KDAH, Mumbai; Dr Rajesh Chandwani from IIM Ahmedabad; Dr Dhiren Shah, heart transplant surgeon; Dr Chirag Desai, liver transplant surgeon; Dr Kavita Parihar, nephrologist; and Bhavna Chhabria from Shatayu.

While Dr Chattopadhyay deliberated on hand-holding of smaller centres and hospitals by major hospitals to create a cohesive ecosystem, citing example of Mumbai, Dr Desai advocated a system of transplant coordinators at both transplant and non-transplant hospitals that can work closely with relatives of brain-dead patients.

Dr Parihar put forth the issue of non-representation of private hospitals in SOTTO and said that the robust model should have organ-specific committees involving all stakeholders. Dr Shah seconded her, adding that steps such as generation of common waiting list have not been implemented so far.

“The hospitals affiliated with medical colleges have been authorized for declaration of brain stem death in the state. Extensive training workshops have been organized for the doctors and staff which is yielding good results,” said Shivahare, adding that they will be working on awareness campaigns to dispel myths.

Dr Chandwani said that organ donation is a complex process and at initial stage should focus on organ retrieval. For the same, training and transparency can do the trick. Chhabria mentioned that non-transplant hospitals in Gujarat have no transplant coordinators or ‘grief counsellors’ who could work with doctors and relatives and also stressed on early-stage education initiatives.

The participants said that Gujarat has a chance to learn from good practices from India and abroad with government and health sector-led initiatives including better identification of brain-dead patients, coordination between various agencies, transparent organ retrieval and distribution system and better awareness among citizens.

(with inputs from Kapil Dave)

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