Here are two articles from the June issue of Transplantation Proceedings
The 10th Congress of the Turkish Transplantation Centers Coordination Association (TTCCA) was held on October 15–18, 2014 in the ancient city of Bodrum, Turkey (formerly Halicarnassus), where one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, “Mausoleum at Halicarnassus,” resides.
This congress also marked the 20th anniversary of the TTCCA. Since its inaugural meeting, TTCCA's congresses have hosted international leaders in the fields of transplantation in transplant immunology, hepatology, nephrology, surgery, radiology, infectious disease, intensive care, nursing, and other related disciplines. Throughout the years, these congresses have served as a great training ground for young Turkish physicians, surgeons, and scientists to meet with world experts and discuss cases. These congresses have also helped Turkish physicians develop international networks so that they may visit transplant centers around the world.
Twenty years ago, TTCCA was established by two pioneers of Turkish transplant surgery: Professors Tuncer Karpuzoglu and Ulug Eldegez. These men were the ones who approached the young transplant surgeons, physicians, immunologists, and nurses to welcome them, encourage them, guide them and point them in the right direction. TTCCA has had bi-annual national meetings since its inception. These meetings have brought almost all transplantation centers in Turkey together under the TTCCA and initiated a nationwide deceased organ distribution system for kidney, liver, and heart transplantations. This effort was sponsored by a grant provided by Novartis. This was the first attempt in Turkey to institute the equal, fair sharing of organs procurred from deceased organ donors. After almost 10 years of serving in this capacity, TTCCA partnered with the Ministry of Health of Turkey (MoH) to achieve the current organ allocation system. During the development of the new organization under the auspices of the MoH, TTCCA leadership and many members have played crucial roles by serving on many committees of this national organization.
As a result of these efforts ignited by TTCCA, solid organ transplantation in Turkey has became a routine procedure with reasonably good outcomes.
Despite these achievements, there are many areas that the transplantation society and MoH can work on:
- 1. Based on the 2014 statistics, approximately 80% of kidney and liver transplants were done with living donors and only 20% of organs were from deceased donors. In living donor liver transplantation, Turkey is the one of the leading countries in the world together with South Korea. These ratios are the opposite to the ratios of Europe and the US where most of donations are from deceased donors. Therefore, there is an ample opportunity to increase deceased organ donation in Turkey. This effort requires continuous education of the public on organ donation.
- 2. It is imperative to establish a Turkish Transplantation Network similar to UNOS. Besides what has been achieved, this organization should be in charge of increasing the number of deceased donors, more detailed organ specific data from transplant centers, auditing, controlling the quality of transplant centers in terms of policies, processes, quality and accreditation of medical and surgical staff involved in transplant centers, education, and monitoring transplant related disease transmission.
TTCCA and MoH have been working with The Transplantation Society (TTS), World Health Organization (WHO), EuroTrans and the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplantation Tourism leadership to honor the concept of the “gift of life,” prevent organ trafficking and increase the number of deceased donors for transplantation. I hope that these commendable efforts would be honored by TTS by allowing the 2020 World Congress to be held in Istanbul, Turkey.
It has been my pleasure to live through these amazing improvements in Turkish Transplantation along the last 20 years.