Interview : Dr. Saudan Singh

Dr. Saudan Singh, Director NOTTO is a professional committed to work. He has graced many programmes of Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti . Indu Agrawal spoke to him on various issues of organ donation in India and role of NOTTO .

Question: What is NOTTO and when it came into existanve?
Reply: NOTTO is an Apex National Networking Organization set up under Direvtorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GOI located at 4th & 5th floor of Institution of Pathology {ICMR} Building in Safdarjung Hospital Campus, New Delhi for promotion of Organ & Tissue donation & transplantation in the country. NOTTO has started functioning in the year 2014.
NOTTO will have five regional networks,  ROTTOs (Regional Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organisation) & each region will habe SOTTOs (State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation) in every State.

Question: Let us start the present situation of organ donation in India with specific referenve to NCR Delhi region. What is the supply and demand status?
Reply: NOTTO is in process to gather information about organs donated and transplanted in India as well as in Delhi NCR. But as preliminary studies say much is needed in this area.

Question: Where India stands vis-à-vis other countries in terms of oragn donations.
Reply: Deceased Donation Status (Per Miillion Population) is as follows:-

Qustion: How NOTTO plans to create awareness regarding organ donation?
Reply:  NOTTO has planned to create awareness by conducting month long mass media & advocacy campains. This will be reviced on quarterly basis with the use of 360 media approach.

Question: Do you see any change in the situation if we look back 5 years from now?
Reply: If we look back to see the situation about organ donation and transplantation, from one hospital perspective there is a increase in the rate of living and deceased donation.

Question: How optimistic are we about next 5 years or have we set any target?
Reply: Health being a State subject. NOTTO can provide technical inputs. We have set targets to achieve our objectives of

  • Creation of National Registry.
  • Establishment of ROTTOs and SOTTOs to decentralize the National Network.
  • To organize a system of organ provurement & distribution for deserving cases for transplantation.
  • To promote deceased organ donation.
  • To protect vulnerable poor from organ trafficking.
  • To monitor organ transplant services and bring about policy and programme.
  • To encourage deceased organ donation and to match the demand and supply of organs donation and transplantation.

Question:  Please tell us something about Tissue Donatioon.
Reply:  If we are discussing about Tissue donation, Cornea donation was existing in some states before THOA came into existstance. Amendment of THOA in the year 2011 regulated Tissues donation in India.

Questioon: Role of neurologists and neurosurgeons have very important role in organ donation. How do you plan to engage them?
Reply: Neurologist & Neuro Surgreon are already the part of Board of Medical Experts to declare Brain Stem Death.

Question: How do we arrive at the decision of brain death?
Reply:  Brain  Stem death is declared by the Brain Stem death Committee, which involves team of four experts, out of which Independent Registered Medical Practitioners and Neurologists names are being approved by Government. They are not involved in performing the transplant surgery. The team has to perform the brain stem death tests twice with at least a gap of 6 hours. This death can be declared only in the hospitals recognixed for retrieval/transplantation.
The viatal organs are taken only after the person is declared brain stem death.

Question: Sir, is it true that the percentage of brain dead is very high in-case of road accident deaths? Do we have any data of such deaths in Delhi NCR region?
Reply: It is observed that the percentage of brain dead is very high in-case of Road accident but we are in the process of collecting data.

India:  Highest absolute number of deas due to road accidents: 133939 deaths  out of total 12.4 lakh in world (WHO – status on road safty 2013).     
Delhi has highest number in cities of India 1866 deaths out of total 16955 deaths in 50 cities  (MORTH 2012), still only 10-12 persons donate in a year in Delhi.  

We are in process of involving trauma centre, as per NOTP (National Organ Transplant Programme) we shall be providing Transplant Coordinators to the Government centres.

Question: How can we tap this source?
Reply: We are in the process of collecting data from all over India about donation & transplantation.

Question: What role you think NGOs can play? How do you plan to coordinate with them?
Reply: NGO can play a major role in creating awareness about organ donation.