The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nations' specialized agency for health. It was established on 7 April 1948. WHO is governed by 194 Member States through the World Health Assembly.
WHO and Transplantation ( www.who.int/transplantation)
The mission of WHO in transplantation is carried out by the Department of Service Delivery and Safety.
The Transplantation programme at WHO works with the Member States to:
· increase access of citizens to safe and effective transplantation of cells, tissues and organs;
· encourage the donation of human material for transplantation, in particular promoting deceased donor donations.
· ensure ethical and technical practices;
· ensure effective national oversight, traceability and appropriate surveillance of adverse events;
· promote international cooperation to encourage the global harmonization of technical and ethical practices in transplantation. This would include the prevention of the exploitation of the disadvantaged through transplant tourism, and the sale of human material for transplantation;
The Spanish National Transplant Organization, Organización Nacional de Trasplantes (ONT), is the technical coordinating institution that belongs to the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equity. The ONT coordinates donations and transplantations performed on a national scale, assuring the best use of cells, tissues and organs in accordance to the principles of cooperation, efficacy and solidarity. Its main objective is to promote altruistic donations with the sole goal that each Spanish citizen who needs a transplant will have the best chance to obtain it.
The ONT also acts as a service agency for the national health system, promoting a continuous increase of availability of cells, tissues and organs for transplantation.
Since the creation of ONT in 1989, Spain has progressively reached the highest rate of organ donation thanks to the implementation of the so called Spanish Model. This model takes into consideration key measures for the success of the transplant system. Thus, the Spanish Model has become the international reference when facing the problem of scarcity of organ donors.
The collaboration between Spain and WHO in the area of transplantation goes back to 2003. A couple of years later, the Government of Spain and WHO signed an agreement to officially collaborate in the human cell, tissue and organ transplantation programme. The agreement has been renewed every two years since then.
The implementers of this agreement are on the Spanish side, the National Organization of Transplants (ONT) and on WHO’s side, the Department of Service Delivery and Safety.
The main objective of this collaborative agreement was the creation and maintenance of a global database on donation and transplantation for cells, tissues and organs through a worldwide network of health authorities and officially designated individuals (focal points). The global database is available through this Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation (GODT) website.
In addition, the ONT became a WHO Collaborating Centre in February 2008 and it has been re-designated in February 2012 to provide the necessary technical support to develop and maintain the collaborating programme.
The main activities of the ONT as a WHO Collaborating Center can be summarized as follows:
- Maintenance of the website – Global Observatory on Donation and Transplantation;
- Data management and analysis;
- Training and Support to implementing Programs;
- Provision of expertise;
- Development of projects involving WHO and other research projects.