Special Correspondent

In a year State has achieved what it could not between 1994 and 2008

CHENNAI: The significance of an anniversary depends not only on the time that has passed, but also in the achievements during the period. The team that gathered at the Madras Medical College auditorium on Tuesday morning was measuring their anniversary by the quality of changes during the one-year period since the inception of Tamil Nadu’s Cadaver Transplantation Programme.

Principal Secretary, Health, V.K.Subburaj, said, “In 2007, we were worried. We did not know how to handle the situation – organ commerce was rampant. But today, it is obvious we were able to overcome the situation to an extent that we are now leaders.”

The State, over the last year, has achieved what it could not in the period between 1994 and 2008. A total of 42 donors had made 82 kidneys, 35 livers, 13 hearts, 2 lungs, 54 corneas and 30 heart valves available to other people, J.Amalorpavanathan, Convenor, Cadaver Transplant Programme, said.

The survival data was also good, considering it has been merely a year since the programme commenced, he said. For kidney transplantation it was 90 per cent, for liver transplantation 80 per cent and for heart transplantation between 60-70 per cent.

It is no mean achievement, Mr. Subburaj said, and gave credit to the architects of the programme – Dr. Amlorpavanathan, current IT secretary and former Special Secretary, Health, P.W.C. Davidar, who brought out seven government orders that govern transplantation in the State, S.Surendran who performed the first liver transplant surgery at Stanley Government Hospital, and the transplant co-ordinators of every hospital.

A number of people from abroad and other States have begun heading towards Tamil Nadu for transplantation, he said, and the State had become the centre of activity.

He also felicitated S.Visvakumar, cardio thoracic surgeon, Government General Hospital, for performing the first heart transplant in any State government hospital.

While thanking the patients and their relatives for their benevolence, the convenor also indicated the path for the future.

Support from the police who have hitherto ensured a green corridor for transportation of organs and aid in medico-legal cases, and media organisations will have to be continuous, he said.

Plea to government hospitals

The CTP would now look into quality audits, geographical end equitable distribution of organs. Dr. Amlorpavanathan made the request to government hospitals to enrol themselves in the transplantation programme in order that more organs could be used to benefit poorer patients.

It is also essential to start a tissue bank in the State in order to store tissues, in keeping with the proposed amendments to the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, he suggested.