Guyana building capacity for efficient, ethical organ donation and transplantation

The Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Agency (HOTTA) has made significant strides in building its capacity to ensure Guyana possesses an efficient and ethical donation and transplantation system.

The agency was created in February 2023 following the passage of the Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Bill in the National Assembly in January 2022.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony later appointed the members of the agency in April of 2023.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and member of the Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Agency (HOTTA), Dr Narine Singh

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the health ministry, Dr. Narine Singh, explained that an organ transplant team has already been created, as part of expanding the agency’s capacity. However, there is need for another group to help with organ harvesting.

“So, presently we have some doctors who have been identified to do further training in transplant and also harvesting of these organs,” Dr Singh stated during the ministry’s weekly ‘Health Matters’ programme.

The two Guyanese doctors and a representative from the Donor and Transplant Institute (DTI) in Spain

He noted that the agency has since collaborated with an international organisation called the Donor and Transplant Institute (DTI) from Spain, where two Guyanese doctors are currently undergoing extensive training.

When these medical practitioners return, they are expected to train other local physicians.

The CMO said the advanced training of these doctors is not only to build their capacity, but to have sufficient medical personnel function within the agency to meet the demand for organ transplant procedures.

“We are also building capacity in terms of the registration process for persons who may need an organ. For example, how persons can get on the register before becoming qualified to receive an organ and to ensure that the procedures are done in keeping with the ethical practices,” Dr. Singh stated.

The agency is also working with other local medical facilities that wish to perform organ transplants to ensure they reach HOTTA’s requirements to execute such procedures.

Transplants such as kidneys, and cornea have been taking place in the country for a while. However, with the passage of the new bill and the creation of the agency, these medical interventions continue to witness a tremendous boost.