Why TN’s Organ Sharing System is the Most Successful in the Country story by Sukshma Ramakrishnan and Sadaf Ahmadzai

Chennai, November 24, 2016: ‘Transparency’ and ‘Cooperation of all stakeholders’ are what make Tamil Nadu’s organ sharing system, the most successful in the country, according to the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN).

Tamil Nadu ranks the highest in the country in successful organ transplants, with the number growing every year. Just in 2016, a total of 917 organs and tissues have been donated till date, which is the highest in India. The reasons for this are attributed to the efficient organ sharing system, managed by the state government.

“We have a very strict and transparent method for allocation of organs. Anyone can check the government website for the waiting lists. The rank on the waiting list is according to the date of registration,” said Sri Kumar, the Chief Program Manager of TRANSTAN.

According to Dr. J Amalorpavanathan, vascular surgeonand former convener of TRANSTAN, during the nine years that he has served, there has never been a complaint from anyone regarding the fairness of the waitlist system.

”There is no jumping the line by anyone for money or otherwise. I think that's why the public trust the system," he said.

When it comes to organ allocation, the levels of segregation include, first the state, since Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra come under TRANSTAN, which is also a Regional Transplant and Tissue organisation centre, and then zones.Tamil Nadu is divided into three zones, namely the North, South and East.All the hospitals under TRANSTAN are provided with all the information of all donors and patients who require organs in the state.

The donated organs are first given within the zone, according to the patient’s compatibility and rank on the waiting list.An organ is given to another zone only when there is no compatible donor within the zone. Again, if there is no compatible recipient within the state, the organ gets passed on to another state.

The organization of more number of green corridors between zones or states in recent times has greatly helped when it comes to heart transplants, since the organ has a very low shelf life. Green corridors are important because the chance of getting a brain dead donor for heart is only two in thousand.

“Green corridors take a lot of coordination between hospitals, doctors and the police from finding a compatible recipient to arranging for the transfer. But, with good networking, we can pull it off successfully 99 percent of the time,” said Sri Kumar, who also heads the team for green corridors in TRANSTAN.

TRANSTAN has a very stringent system for live transplants as well. Live transplants are allowed only between blood relatives and DNA tests are carried out to prevent illegal trading.Every month, around 60 live transplants are done successfully in the state.

“All the stakeholders, including doctors, private hospitals and also NGOs from all over the state are involved in decision making. This makes it easier to get donors, match them with patients who need organs as well as carry out the transplantations in any part of the state,” said Sri Kumar.

TRANSTAN also organizes various organ donation awareness campaigns along with NGOs. The authority promotes pledge-taking and donor card-issuing to draw in more potential future donors.

But, according to Sri Kumar, the TRANSTAN mainly focuses upon training and creating awareness among the ICU nurses and other hospital staff.

“It is they who can really keep an eye out for a potential donor so it is important for them to be aware and act accordingly,” he said.

The TRANSTAN was originally set up as the Tamil Nadu Cadaver Transplant Program in September 2008 by passing seven Government Orders, at a time when a number of Kidney Rackets came to light in the state.

Number of organ donors are growing every year in Tamil Nadu.

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