27 Aug 2012
The state government has decided to revive the zonal transplant coordination centre (ZTCC) in the city and set up new ones in Amravati and Nashik.
The move is expected to provide impetus to human organ transplantation, particularly cadaver donations, and improve the city’s dismal cadaver donation count – which stands at less than 50 kidneys and three livers in the last eight years.
Confirming this in a telephonic interview to TOI on Friday, state’s additional chief secretary (public health) T C Benjamin said a meeting of all the representative hospitals registered with the Pune centre would be held in the city soon to take stock and initiate measures to revive and streamline the work.
"We want to make the Pune centre fully functional. The aim is to encourage postdeath organ donations," Benjamin said.
Among the eight hospitals registered with the Pune centre as designated organ transplant units are KEM hospital, Ruby Hall clinic, Jehangir hospital, Aditya Birla memorial hospital, Sahyadri hospital, Poona hospital and research centre and Patankar urology unit.
Ever since its inception in 2004, the Pune centre has been operational from the KEM hospital, Rasta Peth, which has been acting as a host to coordinate the work at its own hospital space. The centre has been plagued with issues like lack of dedicated staff, independent office–space and fund crunch for awareness activities.
"The centre in Pune needs independent office space and dedicated staff," said senior nephrologist F F Wadia, secretary of the Pune centre.
Wadia rues the fact that cadaveric transplants have not taken off in the city. "Medical professionals need to be more proactive about cadaveric transplants, particularly doctors in intensive care units. We have a number of brain dead cases, which are potential transplant cases. Sadly, due to lack of awareness, the relatives of brain dead patients are often unwilling to give consent for a transplant," he said.
Nephrologist Shriniwas Ambike of Jehangir hospital said, "There is no denying the fact that the Pune centre needs dedicated staff. Since its inception, the nephrology department of the KEM hospital has been looking after its work. The state government needs to provide basic infrastructure and staff to make it functional in full capacity." Sharing the view, nephrologist Abhay Huparikar of Ruby hall clinic said, "The state government needs to grants funds to the centre so that awareness activities and campaigns to promote post–death organ donation can be initiated."
Convening meetings of registered hospitals once in three or six months is one of the important functions of the centre. "Pune centre has not convened any meeting of representatives of registered hospitals in a long time," said a doctor.
Every registered hospital needs to submit its data of brain–dead patients to regional authorisation committee at Sassoon hospital every month.
"But doctors, especially intensivists, neurologists and neurosurgeons, who are empowered to declare a person as brain dead, do not initiate the work. Every registered hospital needs to send their team of intensivist, neurosurgeon and neurologist for the centre’s periodic meetings, but most of these doctors do not attend the meetings and the work gets stalled," said another doctor. "Since 2004, we have received 42 cadaver kidney donations and three cadaver liver donations in Pune. Since there is no facility for liver transplant here, Pune centre gave the donated livers to other centres," Wadia said.