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Key players and tasks for Organ Donation Switzerland

The most important key players in Organ Donation Switzerland are Swisstransplant, Donation Management, the National Committee for Organ Donation (CNDO) and the five organ donation networks. Swisstransplant is responsible for all organ allocation activities at a national level, and the Donation Management department takes care of the administration of the donation side. The CNDO promotes organ and tissue donation at national and regional level and in hospitals. Switzerland is divided into five regional organ donation networks that organise the tasks and processes of organ donation in their affiliated hospitals.

Swisstransplant

Swisstransplant is the Swiss National Foundation for Organ Donation and Transplantation.

On behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, it is responsible, in its capacity as national allocation office, for the allocation of organs to recipients in accordance with the applicable law, and is in charge of the corresponding waiting list.

Since 2009, Swisstransplant has been mandated by the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health. In the field of organ and tissue donation, Swisstransplant is responsible for implementing the cantons’ legal mandates and at the same time for the following:

  • Establishing standards throughout Switzerland
  • Harnessing synergies
  • Uniformly implementing processes and structures at all levels

On behalf of the health insurance providers and the Swiss hospitals association, H+ Die Spitäler der Schweiz, Swisstransplant is responsible for the financial compensation of the donor hospitals for their expenses regarding organ donation. Together with its logistics partner Alpine Air Ambulance, Swisstransplant coordinates all organ transports on the ground and in the air.

Donation Management (administration of the donation side)

Donation Management plays a key role in the Swisstransplant office and is responsible for the administration of the donation side. Donation Management is the first point of contact for Medical Professionals in Organ and Tissue Donation (FOGS) who are responsible for donor recognition. Donation Management also manages various specialist committees, is in charge of payments to the network hospitals, and is responsible for the administration of the specialist instruments. The specialist instruments include training for FOGS and the Swiss Donation Pathway (standards in the donation process).

Donation Management is the central link between the key players and committees of Organ Donation Switzerland.

Comité National du Don d’Organes (CNDO)

The Comité National du Don d’Organes (CNDO) – the National Committee for Organ Donation – is dedicated to the promotion of organ and tissue donation in Switzerland. The CNDO emerged from the integration of the Swiss Foundation for Organ Donation (FSOD) at the beginning of 2009. It is mandated by the cantons to implement the following tasks (Article 56 of the Swiss Transplantation Act):

  • Coordination of donation work across Switzerland
  • Exchange of information between the organ donation networks and Swisstransplant to optimize organizational processes
  • Continuation and coordination in the whole of Switzerland of the local coordinators in hospitals with an intensive care unit in a national training course in cooperation with the regional networks of Organ Donation Switzerland
  • Support and promotion of cooperation among the individual regional donation networks of Organ Donation Switzerland

The tasks of the CNDO are implemented at the following three levels:

  • National level (CNDO)
  • Regional level (organ donation networks)
  • Hospitals (71 hospitals with accredited intensive care units)

The CNDO General Meeting is supported by the bodies listed below:

The CNDO Steering Committee
(President: Dr med. Mathias Nebiker)
The CNDO Steering Committee serves a preparatory function. It develops a basis for making decisions on technical issues for the benefit of the CNDO and the Swisstransplant Foundation Council. It performs tasks related to the management and development of the networks. The five network heads and three experts in an advisory capacity make up the CNDO Steering Committee. The focus in 2019 was on the harmonization of the DCD process.

The CNDO Operational Core Team
(President: Sascha Albert)
The CNDO Operational Core Team carries out orders from the CNDO Steering Committee. It provides the basis for the ongoing optimization and development of processes in organ and tissue donation. The CNDO Operational Core Team comprises coordinators from the five networks. Sascha Albert took over as President of the Operational Core Team at the beginning of 2019. In 2019, the Operational Core Team focused on developing the basis for Swiss guidelines on DCD donation.

The DCD Technical Committee
(President: Renato Lenherr)
The Donation after Cardio-Circulatory Death (DCD) Technical Committee is made up of experts on donations made in the event of brain death following cardiac and circulatory arrest. The objective of the DCD Technical Committee is to establish a uniform protocol for DCD donations in Switzerland. Existing programmes are to be harmonized as well. Following the preparatory work carried out by the CNDO and the Operational Core Team, the national DCD scheme and a standard operating procedure (SOP) for minimal standards were finalized in December 2019 in a major interdisciplinary meeting. The next important task is the further development of the “DCD” Module for the Swiss Donation Pathway.

The five organ donation networks

Switzerland’s five organ donation networks are a central component of Organ Donation Switzerland. Consisting of a central organ and tissue removal hospital and further peripheral detection hospitals, i.e. hospitals in which potential organ donors are recorded, they jointly ensure the nationwide implementation of the Swiss Transplantation Act.

  • Programme Latin de Don d’Organes (PLDO)
  • Schweiz-Mitte (CHM)
  • Lucerne (LU)
  • Donor Care Association (DCA)
  • Netzwerk Organspende Ostschweiz (NOO)

Map of the organ donation networks