India will soon have an apex body under the National Organ Transplant Programme (NOTP) to ensure transparent and accountable multi-organ donation and transplant.

The Centre has identified 15 regional centres for the same, one of which will be Thiruvananthapuram, N.K. Mohanty, Special Director General, Directorate General of Health Services, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said here on Monday.

Addressing a workshop on cadaver organ transplantation organised by the Ministry and the State government here on Monday, Dr. Mohanty said the National Organ Transplant Act, 2011, would soon become a reality as it had been passed by Parliament and was awaiting the President's nod.

The aim was to bring the organ transplants in all States under one umbrella and prevent organ trade and trafficking.

“The NIC has already prepared a blueprint of the National Network for Organ Transplant and any hospital doing organ transplants will have to register with the network. The National Transplant Registry has been framed and soon, all the names, facts, and figures relating to donors and recipients will be made available online. The Centre has already deputed four doctors to the University of Melbourne for training in setting up the registry,” Dr. Mohanty said.

The government has also signed a memorandum of understanding for training with Spain, which has one of the highest cadaveric organ transplant rate at 30 per million population, while in India, the rate is a paltry 0.08 per million population, he added.

All States will have to have transplant coordinators to take care of the deceased organ transplant programme, whose training will be the responsibility of the Centre. The Centre will also work towards increasing the number of transplant centres in the country and the upgrade of medical colleges to aid this process.

Dr. Mohanty said the Planning Commission had already cleared the Centre's proposal to finance the entire cadaveric organ transplant programme — the development of infrastructure and training of manpower — across the country during the 12t Five Year Plan. However, after 2017, the States would have to run the programme. The Centre had also earmarked a special budget for creating public awareness of deceased organ donor programme.

Dr. Mohanty pointed out that such a programme was vital for India, given the huge gap in the demand and supply of organs. The annual demand for renal transplants in India was 1.5 lakh, while only 5,000 renal transplants were being done. The demand for liver transplants was about 50,000 a year, while only 800 had been done so far.

Shashi Tharoor, MP, inaugurated the workshop. The programme had been organised to create awareness among the medical fraternity and the public as the State was in the process of setting up its own cadaver organ transplantation programme.