Public awareness imperative to promote human organ donation

Islamabad—There is a dire need to raise awareness among people for donating human organs to curb mafia of illegal transplant in the country. Currently, medical institutions are equipped to preserve eyes, kidneys and skin for transplanting to other patients but unfortunately the organ donation is not common in the society.
Senior physician and Incharge blood bank Poly Clinic Hospital Dr. Sharif Astori on Sunday said if the hospitals have enough organs for transplant, then the heinous crime of illegal transplant could be controlled to a great extent.
He urged the famous personalities, philanthropist, celebrity, and other influential persons to promote the trend of donating body organs among people.
He told APP, “Edhi has started a good trend through donating his eyes which would be welcome by the general public but there is dire need that more people should come forward to inculcate this spirit among masses”.
In other countries, he stated, like Srilanka, Budha had donated his eyes centuries back which led the whole nation and now it is the biggest eye-donor in the world.
Likewise, such examples should also be established here, adding it is also imperative to clear misconceptions related to donating body organs among people.
Even people doubt that blood donation result in obesity which is totally baseless, he said, adding donating blood after four months (120 days) is quite beneficial for human body.
He also urged the media to play role and raise awareness among people to adopt this trend and save precious life of their fellow beings. Dr. Astori also demanded strict implementation of “Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue Act 2010 adding that it is responsibility of health ministry to take concrete steps for its implementation.
Professor of Pathology, Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplant (SIUT), Dr. Mirza Naqvi Zafar in a standing committee briefing, the other day informed that illegal organ transplant is carried out in several cities of Punjab.
“Currently, 90 per cent of organ transplant performed in Pakistan is commercial with 40 per cent of the total is taking place in Rawalpindi. No legal procedure is followed in the process,” he said. Highlighting another appalling trend, he said that Pakistani people are also donating half livers to foreign nationals. “Donors are taken abroad where the procedure is performed. It is a very complicated procedure and sadly most donors never return back to the country and many are declared missing persons,” he said.
He informed that under the law, it is mandatory that every transplant should be performed after the approval of Evaluation Committee and be monitored by the Monitoring Authority but unfortunately it is not implemented which put the lives of poor people in danger.
Information shared by Human Transplant Authority (HOTA) in the standing committee mentioned that in past the ratio of organ transplant was quite high in the country as approximately 2,000 kidneys transplant were performed in 2006 out of which 1,500 were foreigners. After the promulgation of Organ Transplant Act, HOTA claimed that the figures decreased considerably.
“From September 2007 to March this year, 4,924 kidney transplant were conducted, while during this time span 301 liver transplants, 315 Bone Marrow Transplant and 80 corneal transplants were held and no foreigner was provided kidney during this time period,” it pointed out.—APP

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