Just a few days ago, Tamil Nadu's cadaver transplant programme was adjudged as the best in the country for a second consecutive year. And according to Dr J Amalorpavanathan, the convener of the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN), credit for the success of Tamil Nadu’s sustained organ transplantation programme goes to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Speaking after Jayalalithaa passed away, Amalorpavanathan said that much to everyone’s surprise, the former Chief Minister adopted the programme as her own. "When the draft to start the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu reached her table, she herself wrote her name as Chairperson. Every officer was surprised. No other state in the country has a transplant programme directly under a Chief Minister and that contributed enormously to our consistent success. Such was the importance she attached to transplant," he said.
Given the patronage the programme received, its importance was never under-rated in the state. "No one would dare to interfere. Because everyone knew that she was the chairperson for this organisation," he said.
From Jayalalithaa, explained Amalorpavanathan, he had always received a benign protection that had kept his work free from interference. “Not once had she ever asked us about work. We were planning to present all the details to her in her chambers, but tragedy struck and we lost her most benevolent leadership in transplantation. It is a great loss to the transplant movement in Tamil Nadu," he said.
Tamil Nadu’s cadaver transplantation programme gave a great impetus to organ donation and transplantation in the state, which has performed over 4,938 transplantations in the last eight years.
According to Amalorpoovanathan, Jayalalithaa was the key force for promoting legal organ donations and routing out illegal practices. "She was a superb politician. She was the single cause for driving commercial, illegal transplants out of TN. History will bear ample testimony to this fact," he said.