New Delhi : Gujarat’s innovative approach at creating a citizen centric comprehensive transplant ecosystem has led to the ‘State Organ & Tissue Transplant Organisation (SOTTO) – Gujarat selected for the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration, 2022; The award conferred by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on the Civil Services Day at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. The award was received by Ms. Shahmeena Husain, Commissioner (Health) during the event.
While second award on an initiative taken for Foundation Literacy and Numeracy in all 994 government elementary schools of Mehsana District under project PATHA -(Problem Identification, Assessment & Diagnosis, Teacher Training , Hand Holding in Remedies, Assessment of Impact) conferred by PM. This award was received by Mr. Nagarajan M., Collector of Mehsana.
Gifting a life can be the most sublime and altruistic gift that one can give, and Gujarat is one of the front runners in Cadaveric Organ Donation & Transplants. With SOTTO Gujarat at its pivot, Gujarat leads the nation in Cadaveric Organ Donation & Transplants in the Public sector made possible through innovative strategies, good governance, equitable and inclusive approach and a strong ecosystem, ensuring that the most underprivileged have access to otherwise prohibitively expensive life-saving transplant services.
Saving more and more lives through organ transplantation requires a shift from Live to Cadaver transplant and Gujarat has brought about this paradigm shift with the establishment of SOTTO Gujarat. While the National Live : Cadaver transplant ratio (2019-2023) is around 5.5 : 1, this is around 2.5 : 1 in Gujarat and 1.5 : 1 when it comes to the Public sector transplants. Among the network of over 100 registered centres for transplant and retrieval, the public sector hospitals are the pacesetters by contributing 68% of all cadaver transplants as well as 42% organ retrievals.
Gujarat has been a pioneer in laying down systems & procedures for transplants. The G-DOT guidelines (for organ procurement, transplantation & governance), Brainstem Death Guidelines (for identifying cadaveric donors) and SOTTO Gujarat have provided the much needed support and thrust for deceased organ donation and transplantation.
Organ allocation is as per the medical severity of the disease and based on the best matching of the organs, irrespective of the financial status of the patients that ensures equitable care with best outcome. Affirmative Discretion (allotting additional points to children and women) ensures that they receive the needed services.
Testimonial to the State’s endeavor in creating a robust institutional framework and system to ensure that even the most marginalized and vulnerable populations have equitable access to life-saving organ transplantation and care are the state of art, NABH-accredited facilities for Organ Transplant in the public sector: IKDRC and UNMICRC. Transplant services are provided in public sector hospitals at one-third the cost of the private sector. Barring AIIMS Delhi, Gujarat is the only state to conduct Cardiac Transplants in the public sector.
Generous and Unconditional support from the Government helps ensure the affordability of these services, which is almost free of cost to the poor. Transplantation are included in PMJAY-MA package and over 1194 transplants carried out. Free transplants are done for all children (<18 yrs) under the RBSK-School Health. Over 250 Pediatric Transplantations are carried out totally free of cost. The additional costs are also bourne through grants under SC/ST/LIG scheme, PM/CM relief funds as well as through CSR support & philanthropic donations.
The state has set up the Gujarat University of Transplantation Sciences (GUTS) in 2015, which is the World’s First & Only University for Transplantation and Allied Sciences. Through various dedicated courses related to Organ retrieval and Transplantation; medical and paramedical HR with the necessary skills are made available. This has made IKDRC the most sought-after centre for super specialty courses.
Success of Cadaver transplant can only be ensured through increase in Organ donations. Positive media coverage that highlights the benevolence of donors and the good work being done at public sector hospitals has motivated people to donate organs and reaffirmed their faith in public sector hospitals. The Political commitment shown through facilitation of public financing, promoting public sector infrastructure as well as felicitation of donors has gone a long way in making Gujarat the leader in public sector transplantations.
Under project of PATHA, initiative taken in all 994 government elementary schools of Mehsana district was also noteworthy. This project not only improved the FLN skills of poor performing students as comparatively more number of students had achieved more than 40% marks (from 1,02,328 in December 2021 to 1,07,640 in December 2022) but also immensely helped in improving FLN skills and learning outcomes of average and good students as number of students getting more than 80% marks increased from 53,199 (in December 2021) to 58434 (in December 2022)
This project also aims to break the myth about government schools. The students as well as teachers at Government schools are equally good and competent. A very well thought and planned with constant training and hand holding can bring phenomenal results.