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SOTTO: lab for cross-matching of tissues, organs inaugurated

Panaji: Following the setting up of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) laboratory and a web portal, the stage has been set for formal functioning of State Organ and Tissue Transplantation Organisation (SOTTO) at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim.

HLA laboratory and the web portal are two essential requirements to facilitate the deceased donor transplant programme. HLA laboratory is needed for cross-matching of organs and tissues while the web portal is mandatory to maintain transparency in the allotment of organs to the patients.

The GMC now aims to perform different types of organ transplants by June 2020 when the construction work of the 520-bed super speciality block of GMCH is completed and made operational. However, the premier medical institute will not only continue to perform kidney transplantation from the live donors but now also can perform kidney transplant from the deceased donors.

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane inaugurated SOTTO –‘Nave Jivit’-A New Life, a Deceased Donor Transplant Programme at GMCH. The HLA laboratory was also inaugurated and the web portal of SOTTO was launched on the occasion.

Interacting with media persons after the function, the nodal officer for SOTTO in Goa Dr Shivanand Bandekar said that with around 3,000 kidney patients on dialysis in the state and 150 new cases of kidney ailments being added every year at the Goa Medical College and Hospital, the setting up of SOTTO could go a long way in providing cure to the needy.

 “The waiting lists are updated and uploaded on the website. Different committees and sub-committees have been put in place; we are totally prepared to undertake transplants. Right now we have a very strong kidney transplant programme in the state whereas in case of liver, heart and lung transplant we will be able to undertake only when super speciality block is ready and made operational,” he said.

Dr Bandekar, who is also the Dean of GMC, informed that currently, 22 patients are on the waiting list for the kidney transplant.

Stating that GMCH is putting in extraordinary effort to take organ transplant programme to the next level, director of National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) Dr Vasanthi Ramesh said that there is also a facility for conducting organ retrieval workshops for surgeons which has been established in the Forensic Science department.

Highlighting the challenges, the joint director of SOTTO-Goa Dr  Preeti Varghese said in India 5 lakh people die every year awaiting a transplant and for the other, the wait for a match can be as long as 18 years. She said that in Goa it is estimated that around 12000 persons are suffering from kidney diseases with 150-200 cases being added every year.

 “There is a wide gap between the number of organs required and the number of organs available. Two lakh patients of end-stage disease await kidney transplant in India but only 10,000 get it, two lakh patients of liver failure await liver transplant but 708 get a donor. 50,000 patients of heart failure await a heart transplant but only 339 deceased heart donations were witnessed,” Dr Varghese said.

“In India, a kidney transplant costs Rs 6-8 lakh, liver transplant costs Rs 20-30 lakh, heart transplant costs Rs 25-30 lakh, and cornea transplant costs Rs 50,000 to 1,00,000,” she added.   

Vishwajit Rane said that Goa can further improvise and ensure that Goa’s SOTTO becomes one of the best in the country, adding, “Counselling families on the importance of organ donation is the need of the hour.”

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