Dr. (Colonel) Avnish Seth has pioneered organ donation (OD) after brain death in North India since 2006 and is spearheading the deceased organ donation program in 18 Fortis hospitals across the country as Director of Fortis Organ Retrieval & Transplant (FORT). Dr. Seth is a member of International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP), The Transplantation Society (TTS), Apex Technical Committee for National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) and Advisory board for MOHAN Foundation. In 2016 he led the Healthcare Federation of India (NATHEALTH) National Working Group on Organ Transplant.
16000 walked in 6 cities to promote organ donation in August 2017: seen here at Gurugram with actor Irfan Khan and RJ Khurafati Nitin
Awards/Recognition in the field of Organ and Tissue Donation
2008: Awarded the VishistSeva Medal by President of India for meritorious service to the nation beyond the call of duty. Set up the first successful deceased donor organ transplant program in North India.
2016-17: Organized Season I of ‘Fortis-NDTV More to Give’ campaign on OD. The campaign received following awards:-
- Nominated at Effies, APAC Effies and Cannes Film Festival
- ‘Best content’ in digital marketing
- ‘Health awareness campaign of the year 2016
2017-18: Organized Season II of‘Fortis-NDTV More to Give’ campaign on OD that received following awards:-
- 2 Silver and a bronze awards at Madras Advertising Club Awards (Maddy’s)
- Bronze award at the Golden Mikes for best radio advertisement
- Short film "From his heart to hers" on organ donation the ‘Dada Saheb Phalke award in the best Public Service Advertisement category
- Gold in Excellence in Radio Awards (ERA) for most effective use of Radio in an Activation Campaign
2018-19: Organized Season III of‘Fortis-NDTV More to Give’ campaign on OD that received the following awards:-
- A Gold and a Silver award at Prime Time Awards for Best use of News Channel and CSR & Social Welfare Category
- A Gold and 2 Silver awards at Madras Advertising Club Awards (Maddy’s)
Landmarks in the Field of Organ Donation
- Founder and Director of Armed Forces Organ Retrieval & Transplant Authority (AORTA), established in 2007at Army Hospital (Research & Referral), New Delhi.This was first successful deceased OD program in North India that led to transplantation of hundreds of organs. The first successful split liver transplant in the country was done in 2008.
- First transportation of liver from North to South India (New Delhi to Hyderabad) by air in 2007.
- First super-urgent deceasedliver donation in New Delhi following primary non-function of living donor liver in 2012.
- First movement of multiple organs by a dedicated fixed-wing Air Force aircraft (Chandigarh to New Delhi) in 2012.
- Organ pledging drive. Over 1,10,000 individuals have pledged to donate their organs; 10,000 with AORTA and another 100,000 with FORT.
- Organized the first ‘Green Corridor’ drill in the NCR for rapid transit of donated organs by involving the Delhi police and Gurgaon police on 6th August 2014. The ambulance covered a distance of 15 Km in15 minutes. In order to increase awareness on organ donation, NDTV and FM channels covered the event live and a drone was used to capture the event for live transmission.
- Organized ‘Annual 5-day Certificate Course on Transplant Coordination’ in the first week of April every year from 2014 onwards at FMRI, Gurugramalong with MOHAN Foundation, under the aegis of NOTTO.
- Organized awareness program on organ donation for Gurgaon Police at FMRI Gurgaon on 31stMay2014. The Commissioner of police along with 70 police personnel pledged to donate their organs at the end of the training.
- Project on ‘Living after Leaving’ on OD by students of DPS, SushantLok, Gurgaon. The project, selected from 70 applicants from 48 schools throughout Asia, was awarded the first prize at Rotary Social Innovation Awards 2014.
- Project on OD with ‘Teach for India’, a non-profit organization, for class VI students of SarvodayaKanyaVidyalaya, Mehrauli, New Delhi. Selected for presentation at ISODP World Congress at Seoul in Oct 2015.
- Organized first green corridor in North India for transportation of heart from Fortis hospital in Gurgaon to Fortis Escorts Heart Institute with the help of Gurgaon Police and Delhi Police on 3rd Jan 2015, when a distance of 32 Km was covered in 29 minutes during peak rush hour.Selected for presentation at ISODP World Congress at Seoul in Oct 2015.
- Organized webcast of awareness on ODon 6th August 2015 during which over 1000 Fortis employees from 15 hospitals simultaneously pledged to donate their organs.
- Organized the 3-years Fortis - NDTV ‘More To Give’ campaign to promote deceased organ donation from July 2016 to June 2019. Disabled war veterans and sports personalities, inspired the campaign. Number of celebrities endorsing the campaign in the 3 years was 10, 30 and 40 respectively. An anthemon organ donation prepared by Bollywood celebrities was released in Hindi. Donor and recipient stories, panel discussions with experts and religious leaders were televised thrice a week. National conferences on ‘Best practices in organ donation’ and ‘Brain death in children’ were organized under the aegis of ISODP. Awareness talks and simultaneous walkathons held in 7 cities were televised live. Articles and expert views were published in leading newspapers. Awareness films were launched in social media. Millward Brown, an independent professional agency, assessed the reach and impact of the campaign.Digital campaign reached 3.3 million(m), 25m and 40m individuals in the three years respectively. TV viewership reached 29m in 2017 and 100m in 2018. Print advertisements reached 9m viewers in 2017 and 20m in 2018. The ‘More To Give’ short awareness films on OD garnered 14m views on Facebook in 2017 and 18m in 2018. Videos on OD were viewed 253000 times on youtube in 2017, 122000 times in 2018 and the national Dada SahebPhalke award in 2018 for best film in PSA category. Simultaneous multi-city walkathon was attended by 4500, 6500, 16800 individuals in the 3 years. ‘Virtual steps’ pledged towards the cause of OD were 400000 in second year and 1070000 in the third year. 21000, 33000 and 45000 pledged to donate organs in the 3 years. OD increased from 0.7 per month to 2.1 per month in 13 Fortis hospitals and 5 hospitals had their first donation during the campaign. Organ donors in the country increased from 570 in 2015 (ODR 0.5 PMP) to 875 in 2018 (ODR 0.8 PMP). A 7-city survey in 2019 showed most respondents were aware of OD and 50% were willing to pledge. Public perceived the organization as more caring, expert and socially responsible towards the end of the campaign.The campaign improved public perception towards the organization.
International Annual Summits on Organ Donation organized at FMRI, Gurugram
Annual summits/conclaves were organized over the years. The following events, attended by faculty from Spain, Australia and UK, were co-hosted by MOHAN Foudationand endorsed by NOTTO, ISODP and ISOT:-
- 3rd August 2019: Summit of Organ Care Systems and Transportation
- 1st October 2018: Critical Care Conclave on deceased organ donation
- 29th July 2017: Organ donation and transplantation in children
- 3rd September 2016: Best practices in organ donation
- 8th August 2015: Donation after Circulatory Death (DCD)
- 6th August 2014: Workshop on brain stem death and donor management
Invited talks and Live shows
Participated in invited talks and live shows on OD including ‘We The People’ and ‘The Buck Stops Here’ by NDTV.