NOTTO Scientific Dialogue: Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare organized National Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) Scientific Dialogue 2023 today. The dialogue was organized to bring all the stakeholders under one roof to brainstorm ideas about interventions and best practices in the organ and tissue transplant field that can be taken up for saving lives.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Health Secretary Shri Rajesh Bhushan congratulated everyone on the positive outlook that the country is observing in organ and tissue transplants. He said that there is fast resurgence in the transplant activities post COVID and for the first time country has achieved more than 15,000 transplants in a year (2022). Along with this, there was an annual increase of 27% in transplant numbers.
Union Health Secretary underlined on three priority areas which include programmatic restructuring, communication strategy and skilling of professionals. Highlighting the need to update the existing structures and guidelines in place, Shri Bhushan said that “though we have existing structures at various governance levels like NOTTO at national level, SOTTOs at state levels and ROTTOs at regional level, it needs to be ensured that they work as a well-oiled machinery while performing their mandate.”
Shri Bhushan welcomed the changes that have taken place such as updated guidelines, domicile requirement being done away with. He emphasized on the rational use of technical manpower country has and training and channelizing them efficiently along with optimal utilization of physical infrastructure and equipments such as in tertiary care facilities.
Underscoring the changing demography of the country, Union Health Secretary noted that India has a growing geriatric population and to ensure quality of life for them, it is critically important to update our communication and awareness strategy, so that potential organ donors come forward.
He suggested wide orientation and re-orientation through training programs, newly designed courses and digital interventions for healthcare professionals and domain knowledge experts. He further added that “ along with training programs, wide publicity and awareness through not just print and electronic media but engaging with local stakeholders and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) can be taken up”. Thus, he pushed for a multi-stakeholder exercise for communicating effectively and making people realize their contribution towards a greater good.
Highlighting the need for capacity building of our medical institutions, Shri Rajesh Bhushan said that “despite having 640+ medical hospitals and colleges, transplants remain a specialized service limited to some hospitals only. There is a need to expand the number of institutions where surgeries and transplants are undertaken.
Thus, to increase surgeries/transplants in the country, along with sensitization and training for healthcare professionals, our physical infrastructure must be optimally utilized. There is also a need to identify high case load institutions and bring them under the network NOTT program.” He suggested that consultations and discussions can lead to Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and consequentially, creation of Centre of Excellences at state and regional level where these specialized services can be provided to the needy.
Ms. V Hekali Zhimomi, AS MoHFW informed the participants about the enhanced capacities under National Organ Transplant program (NOTP) and available facilities that citizens can use such as 24X7 toll free helpline, National organ and tissue transplant Registry, website for ease of access to information.
Dr. Rajneesh Sehai, Director NOTTO, Dr. BL Sherwal, MS Safdarjung Hospital along with senior officers of the Ministry, Experts from Medical fraternity, Healthcare professionals and representatives from Industry were present at the conference.