Parts of proposed law open doors to abuse of donors -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Parts of proposed law open doors to abuse of donors

KARACHI: Experts from the country’s largest public sector transplant center have said that certain aspects of the proposed organ transplant laws will open up the doors to commercialization.

Professor Anwar Naqvi, Prof Adibul Hassan Rizvi and Professor Farhat Moazzam of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) held a press briefing to point out the parts of the proposed ordinance that they backed and those that they condemned.

SIUT had proposed the bill earlier on, as Pakistan is the only Muslim country without laws on organ donations and transplantations. SIUT experts said that thus, it was welcome news that the Federal Cabinet had approved the transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance, 2007 last week. The ordinance states that transplantations for foreigners will not be permissible which the SIUT described as an important step as 66 percent of the 2OOO
transplants performed last year were for foreigners which has given Pakistan a bad Dame as the ‘organ bazaar of the world’.

The proposed ordinance also makes the provision for registering transplant centers and transplant teams along with maintaining a registry for transplantation, which is also a welcome step for transplant work in the region.
The proposed bill by SIUT has been lying with the government since 1994, the experts pointed out.

Due to a lack of input from the transplant community, especially the Transplant Society of Pakistan as well as SIUT, however, the experts said that some important aspects of safeguarding ethical transplantation have been missed out.

In the category of living donors, the scope has been enlarged to include second degree donors and even mothers and their children. Similarly the term “non-blood relatives” which previously included only spouses has now been enlarged to include in-laws and their relatives.

These provisions will allow for the misuse of donors, leading to commercialism in transplantation. The SIUT experts also commented on the concept of an evaluation committee. The ordinance stipulates the appointment of a physician, surgeon and a notable person from the public with social work experience.

The evaluation committee will be responsible for determining brain-stem death, the propriety of the retrieval of organs using the brain death protocol as well as fitness for transplantation.

In their opinion, an evaluation committee is not suitable for determining brain death as this is the domain of specialists such as neurosurgeons, neuro-physicians and intensivists. In fact a transplant team is not a part of the team responsible for declaring brain death in any transplant center of the world.

Moreover, the committee has been given the task of the approval of non­related donors. The experience in India of an “authorization committee” (equivalent to an evaluation committee in Pakistan) has been most disappointing, pointed out Prof Rizvi.
Source: Daily Times