• 31 March 2014

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    Category : Opinion

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    OCATT: 30 years coordinating and exporting the transplant model

    The Director of the Catalan Transplant Organization (OCATT), Jaume Tort i Bardolet, analyzes the history of the Spanish transplant system and how its success resulted in Spain leading a FIIAPP-coordinated project to strengthen the Moldovan transplant system.

    2014 is a special year in the world of organ transplants in Spain. This year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Catalan Transplant Organization (OCATT), a body under the umbrella of the Department of Health which in 1984 started organ exchange, both among hospitals in Spanish territory and between the Spanish State and the rest of Europe.  This was possible thanks to the Transplant Coordination Centre, which operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Five years later, in 1989, the National Transplant Organization (ONT) was born. Currently, the ONT is responsible for coordinating the exchange of organs within Spanish territory, while the OCATT coordinates the exchange within Catalonia and between the State and international organizations.

    What is known as the Spanish Transplant Model is a system made up of hospital transplant coordination offices, coordinators in the self-governing communities, the OCATT and the ONT. The model aims to improve organ and tissue donation, as well as transplants. To do this, it has an appropriate basic framework from a legal, ethic, medical and political standpoint. This model has been exported and adapted by many countries, both in the European Union and outside it. In fact, the European Directive on Organs, published in 2010, is based on the earlier Spanish regulation.

    The proof that this model works is the new transplant record broken on the 20th of February which allowed 45 transplants to be performed in a single day. This was possible thanks to the solidarity of the 14 families of the deceased donors and that of 2 living donors, in addition to the participation of 22 hospitals in 11 self-governing communities, under the coordination of the OCATT and the ONT.

    This collaboration between different Spanish institutions linked to donation and transplants also occurs at the international level. One example is the twinning project initiated in Moldova in January of this year which will end in December 2015. This is a project financed by the European Union and implemented by France and Spain. The main objectives are, in the first place, to review the legal and institutional framework related to organ and tissue donation and transplants to adapt it to European Directives.

    The second objective is to train the Moldovan professionals involved in these activities. To do this, specialists from Spain, France and Romania will travel to Moldova to provide on-site training to these professionals and provide them with the theoretical bases. Later, the Moldovan professionals will travel to the Spanish, French and Romanian hospitals participating in the project to continue their training on a practical basis.

    The aim of the final project phase is to improve public opinion in the area of organ and tissue donation and transplants, both in the general population and among professionals. The institutions leading the project are the Agence de la Biomédicine on the French side, and the Catalan Transplant Organization (OCATT) and the Donation and Transplant Institute (DTI) on the Spanish side. As the French intermediary agency, the Agency for Development and Coordination of International Relations (ADECRI) is participating. On the Spanish side, the intermediary agency is the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP), reporting to the Ministry of Public Administrations. Experts from Spain, France and Romania are also participating.

    Dr Jaume Tort i Bardolet
    Director of the OCATT

    The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of its author.