Maharashtra to frame policy on green corridor to transport organs

Surgery image via Shutterstock
Maharashtra government has decided to formulate a comprehensive policy on green corridor to ensure smooth passage of transportation of harvested organs within specified time, a senior health official has said.

The government has decided to frame a policy and also mooted a proposal to appoint a nodal officer from the police department to handle issues related to the green corridor, state Director of Health Satish Pawar said.

The policy seeks to iron out hurdles faced by police over jurisdiction issues, obtaining necessary No Objection Certificates (NoCs) and creating a green corridor for smooth passage of ambulances carrying harvested organs.

According to state Minister for Public Health Deepak Sawant, the wait list at present for cadaver transplants in Maharashtra is about 2,000. There is a huge demand for liver, followed by heart.

"Non-transplant organ retrieval centres (NTORCs) are to be set up in hospitals having intensive care units (ICUs). These centres shall have counsellors, who will convince relatives of brain-dead patients for consenting to donate organs of their patient," Sawant said.

The minister had recently held the first meeting with representatives of government and private hospitals, traffic and other police officials, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials and medical experts.

He directed the stakeholders to make recommendations to enable the government to draft a comprehensive policy with complete protocols for organ harvesting and green corridor.

Sawant said suggestions included using FM radio channels to air advance information about creation of dedicated green corridor in the city.

"In Mumbai, the government can use display signages to inform motorists and pedestrians about green corridor route. The government is contemplating to have special stickers, sirens and specially designated lamp for ambulances meant to transport harvested human organs," he said.

The government is also trying to tie-up with airline companies for air ambulance facilities, he said. Meanwhile, Pawar said the government's attempt is to convince relatives of young patients, who are declared brain dead, to donate their organs.

"The window period to transplant harvested organs is about five to six hours. If the organs are to be transported outside cities like Mumbai, then the management at airport and traffic management has to be dealt with," he said.

"At present, the airlines charge anywhere between Rs 70,000-100,000 per organ. The average cost of transportation of organs comes to around Rs 300,000. The government is trying to transport more than one organ at the same time to reduce the transportation costs," he said.

He said the government has mooted the proposal of appointing a designated nodal officer of the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, who will coordinate issuance of necessary NoCs, make traffic arrangements, and deal with legal issues.

Assistant Director of Health Gauri Rathod said often issues of jurisdiction are raised by police.

"Police will be sensitised about their role in handling such matters," she said.

Besides, the transportation of organs within the state, there are issues of inter-state transportation also, she said.

The government is contemplating waiving 20 per cent of state taxes levied on airlines for air ambulances, which will reduce the transportation costs, Rathod said.

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