15 Nov : The Union Health Ministry is launching a National Organ Transplant Programme to improve the scenario for major transplantations like Kidney, Liver and Heart in the country. The proposed national plan will have emphasis on promoting cadaver donation. The national programme will aim to enhance the facilities for organ transplantation throughout the country, establish a network for equitable distribution of retrieved deceased organs, and increase the availability of organs through facilitation and attitude change. The progarmme will also involve building up human resources. For this a body will be created for procurement, distribution of organs at National, regional and zonal level covering the entire country. This was announced by the Union Health Minister Dr Anbumani Ramadoss at a function to honour the organ donors of Tamil Nadu, at Chennai, today. Thirteen Donors were honoured by the Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri Surjit Singh Barnala in a simple ceremony here. The Union Health Minister also announced the government will provide free second class railway passes and free life insurance for the immediate relative of the donor as a token of appreciation.
Durbar Hall of the Raj Bhawan, witnessed somber moments when the family members of the donors walked up to the Governor who honoured the memory of the donors. The Governor, commended the spirit of the family members who overcame their personal sorrow and had the good sense to organ donation. Calling organ donation a miraculous achievement of the modern science the Governor called for better awareness about the procedures and modalities of organ donation. The Governor appreciated the campaign mode in which the Union Health Minister has taken up the organ donation. He commented "Dr Ramadoss is a great campaigner as is evident from his successful anti tobacco campaign’.
Detailing the glorious record of Tamil Nadu in the field of organ donation, Dr Ramadoss recounted the pioneering role of the State. He said that there is a lack of awareness that six organs i.e. 2 kidneys, 2 eyes, 1 liver and a heart can be donated by the patients who are brain dead. In this way, one person can give hope to six people. This has been the case in many instances of organ donation which were honoured today. For Example, Hitendra a 16 year old boy’s family agreed to donate the organs of their brain dead son giving new life to other people. His example triggered a new wave and the state has witnessed a spurt in families coming forward to donate organs. Donating organ of a loved one is a decision taken in an hour of grief and those who are able to take it deserve all the credit. Today’s ceremony was an occasion to salute the spirit behind the organ donation and also to mainstream the stoic tales so that a greater awareness may be created all over the country to increase the organ availability, Dr Ramadoss said.
Simple interventions like indicating willingness for organ donation on the driving licence can go a long way in improving cadaver donation availability. This along with the proposed National Highway Trauma Care Project can make a real dent in the organ availability. The Project covers the entire Golden Quadilateral and North-South-East-West corridors with over 200 hospitals being upgraded with pre hospital care and integrated system. The Government is in the process of acquiring the mobile hospital system with facilities for operation theatres, pathology labs, imaging units and other support functions which can be moved or airlifted to the disaster site, Mr Ramadoss told the gathering.
In, order to improve safety, equitability and monitoring in the field of organ transplant the Ministry had notified many changes in the Transplantation of Human Organ Rules in August this year. These changes clearly delineated the role to be played by the Registered Medical Practitioners, and authorization committees so that scams and other malpractices can be avoided. The ministry has proposed far reaching changes in the Transplantation of Human Organ Act (THOA), 1994. The proposed changes include expansion of the definition of ‘near relatives’ to include grandparents and grand children, introduction of the concept of ‘required consent’ and stricter norms where foreign nationals and minors are involved. The draft note for carrying out the amendments has been circulated to all states/Union Territories for consideration by the Cabinet.
Union Minister of State for Railways, Thiru R. Velu, Health Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru MRK Paneeselvam and senior officials and members of the medical community were present on the occasion.