Aug 3, 2020

The shelter homes during the pandemic

Pictures of some of rooms in the shelter house
Pictures of some of rooms in the shelter house

A liver transplant is a major surgery that can give a sick person a second chance in life. Although a lot of the hospital services had to slow down their services because of the coronavirus pandemic, liver transplantations have continued during these difficult times. Now more than ever, family support has been proved necessary for the full recovery of the patients.

Throughout the last three months, five families have stayed in AETHA's shelter homes. These families did not live there at the same time, because it depends on whether they came for medical check-ups, liver transplants, post-transplant recovery, etc.

In May 2020, we met a family that came from a town in the Teruel region, near Calamocha. They told us that without our help they would have been lost. They did not know what to do until a person from our volunteer team on a hospital visit approached them. Before meeting us, they spent a week and a half sleeping in the waiting rooms or in their car without having the opportunity to even take a shower. They told us that they did not know that this kind of resource existed in Zaragoza, and if they knew about it, they would have not hesitated to come to us earlier. The family members were feeling lost and very afraid of the outcome of their brother.

The first thing that our volunteer team did was to provide them with all the information needed so that everyone would be more reassured and relaxed. Then we accompanied them to one of AETHA's shelter homes close to the hospital where the brother was being taken care of. As we know, an organ transplant requires a long recovery. This family spent a month and a half taking care of their brother, and every day, either the AETHA’s Social Worker or a member of our volunteer team checked on the family members to see if they needed anything. They told us: "You came at the right time, like angels fallen from heaven." "Without your help, we would have ended up sleeping in waiting rooms for so much longer." "You are of big help for people with few resources like us."

Another couple spent a week in our shelter homes. The transplanted person started having discomfort a year after being transplanted and came to do some tests to see where the pain was coming from. This couple came from a town in Huesca and, being older and not having their own vehicle, they had to come by bus and spend the night in our shelter homes. They already knew about us, and every time they have to do some medical check-ups, they get in touch so that we can make a room available for them.

There are testimonies of people who have lived in the shelter homes, but as a rule and because of the delicate situation they had to go through, we want to preserve their privacy and anonymity.

Building and terrace of the shelter house
Building and terrace of the shelter house
Jun 29, 2020

Increase in the organ donation rates in Kerala

TPM scholarship winner
TPM scholarship winner

REPORT: Increase in the organ donation rates in Kerala

*Dr. Muralee has granted us permission to us his complete name on this report*

Organ shortage is a major reason for the low number of organ transplants in India. An estimated four thousand people die in road traffic accidents in Kerala, about 70% of them could be declared brain dead and become potential donors. Due to the lack of professionals trained on deceased organ donation, all those potential donors are missed. Kerala achieved the highest number of donors in 2015, but in 2016 there was an important decline due to legal implications on brain death (BD) certification. In November of 2018, the Family and Health Welfare Department approved a government order to appoint an in-hospital transplant procurement manager (TPM) to coordinate potential donors at intensive care units in government medical colleges. As a consequence, a TPM was designated to create the first hospital-based organ procurement unit in a third level transplant hospital with a total of 560 beds and 60 ICU beds. The procurement manager became actively involved in the donor identification, supporting BD diagnosis and approaching donors’ families.

As a result, in 2018, 37% of the possible donors were converted to potential donors vs. 42% in 2019, this resulted in a 5% increase. From the total potential donors declared, 25% were actual donors, the rest of the cases were discarded primarily because of family refusals (religious barriers, inconsistencies among relatives, apathetic attitude towards the DP).

DTI Community, along with DTI Foundation have the mission of saving lives. Our way of doing this is by promoting knowledge transfer through our training courses in order to have more competent professionals specialized on organ donation and transplantation. It has been through our project in GlobalGiving, Save 1 Million Lives, that we have been able to grant various scholarships to healthcare professionals from all over the world. In doing so, we have created amazing relationships and a strong and vast network of friends, alumni and volunteers all inspired to save lives.

On October 2019, we granted a scholarship for the 25th TPM Advanced International Training Course, to Dr. Muraleedharan, intensivist from Kerala (India)(*Dr. Muralee has granted us permission to us his complete name on this report*). His time in Barcelona was of much importance to all of us.  Not only did he gain important training and knowledge for better organ donation and transplantation procedures and practices in his region, but also a strong bond with DTI Community family and staff. We communicate periodically and he reports to us about his experience in KIMS hospital, where he currently works, as well as updates on how they have been able to improve the methodology in regards to organ donation and transplantation in the region of Kerala. According to data from 2019, there were 10 organ donors, and this year 2020 they have had 6 organ donors so far. We can see a clear increase in the organ donation rates in the region since Dr. Muraleedharan participated in the TPM Advanced International Training Course.

The organ donation conversion rate increased from 0% in 2018 to 25 % in 2019, and we expect it to keep increasing on 2020.

*Dr. Muralee has granted us permission to us his complete name on this report*

 

To conclude, the role of the TPM provided clinical leadership and raised the value of deceased organ donation. Committed medical teams in addition to an efficient system helped reestablish the families´ trust to avoid the leakage of donors. Organ donation specialized training and international collaboration alongside institutional and regulatory support from the government are essential elements for the reconstruction of the DP in Kerala. 

In Kerala, deceased donor organ transplantation is suddenly hogging the limelight, raising hopes of a new revival for the State’s scheme Mrithasanjeevani. The State has done seven transplants this year, five of them in April-May in the cusp of COVID-19.

We are glad to have results like the ones in Kerala, this is great inspiration to keep going further with our project, Save 1 Million Lives. The donations to our project help us promote knowledge to professionals such as Dr Muraleedharan. We are always opening new spots for people to apply for scholarships to courses and master programs. Thanks to these contributions we keep sharing the gift of education and continue to save millions of lives.

Mar 26, 2020

Scholarship given to a healthcare professional from Kerala, India

At DTI (Donation and Transplantation Institute), we believe in the power of education, respect, diversity and transparency. Our main goal is - through our project in GlobalGiving, Save 1 Million Lives  - to facilitate access to practices and training related to organ donation and transplantation,  to healthcare professionals who find themselves in developing countries. With the main goal of raising $50.000, we have been able to grant several scholarships to healthcare professionals living in under-resourced countries in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. 

Last year 2019 was a very exciting one since DTI was able to give another scholarship. This time to Dr.  Muralldharan from Kerala, India, an outstanding beneficiary of the DTI-TPM scholarships of 2019 founded by GlobalGiving. He obtained a scholarship worth half of the tuition of the 25th Transplant Procurement Management Advanced International Training Course in October of 2019. 

Dr. Muralldharan has a vast and amazing academic curriculum; he has a degree in MBBS, DPM Psychiatry, diploma in Anesthesia, fellowship in Critical Care and a master in Philosophy. His professional career developed by working as a senior intensivist at the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences, at the Multidisciplinary ICU work department. He has a speciality in behavioural and intensive care. He has a background in donor and transplant coordination as well. It is a great honor and achievement for DTI to be able to have amazing candidates, like Dr. Muralldharan, for these scholarships. 

This scholarship and training was able to provide and teach Dr. Muralldharan about detection, identification and selection of donors; clinical approach of brain death diagnosis; instrumental tests for brain death diagnosis; donor management; bioethics and legislation in transplantation and other topics that will give him the chance to increase and expand his professional knowledge and skills in organ donation and transplantation. Thus, taking this expertise back to Kerala and applying it at the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences. 

Kerala has 35 million inhabitants and claims some of the best health statistics in India, in fact some are similar to those in the high-income countries, and has a deceased organ donation rate of 1.03 per million population, according to the Nepal Journal of Epidemiology. In 2015, there were 218 major organ donations by 72 deceased donors whereas only 29 major organs were donated by 8 deceased donors in 2018, which suggests major limitations of the existing deceased organ donation programme at governmental level. Kerala deceased donor transplant data from the Kerala Network for Organ Sharing, shows that there are currently 797 solid organs and 488 total tissues. 

DTI offers, annually, educational and networking opportunities with the aim to support the professional development of its members. The donations to our project Save 1 Million Lives help us promote knowledge to professionals in organ donation and transplantation. We are always opening new spots for people to apply for scholarships to courses and master programs. Thanks to these contributions we keep sharing the gift of education and furthermore continue to save millions of lives.

***Dr. Raman has given us permission to use his picture for this report. 

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