Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Doctors declare draft organ-trade law unfit

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: Doctors and non-governmental organisations have urged the government to introduce a flawless law to curb kidney sale.

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) member Dr Saeed Elahi said that the proposed Organ Transplantation Ordinance of 2007 had many flaws because non-technical people had made it without consulting all stakeholders. “Donors and recipients of human organs, doctors, civil society representatives, lawyers and religious experts were not consulted,” he added. He said that the draft ordinance had legalised the sale of human organs.

Dr Elahi said that the draft ordinance did not discuss the problems faced by donors of human organs. “A kidney donor is vulnerable to high blood pressure, increase in sugar levels and infections. The draft does not provide the donor with any medical and financial support,” he added. He said that a person with one kidney could not perform a tough job. He said that the government should amend the ordinance after holding thorough discussions with law experts and doctors.

A report issued by a human rights organisation, The Network, criticised the draft law saying that loopholes in the ordinance would encourage the sale of human organs. The NGO said that the government had trusted the evaluation committee with a lot of powers in the ordinance. The report said that according to the proposed law, a monitoring authority would be formed to monitor the transplantation.

The report criticised the recommended formation of a “pool of human organ donors”. It said that making such a pool would lead to setting up a kidney bazaar. It said that the pool would provide legal cover to those in the business of human organs.

Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) secretary general Dr Azeemuddin Zahid said that the introduction of a law regarding medical sciences without consulting the specialists or related bodies was absurd and ridiculous. He said that the draft Organ Transplantation Ordinance was merely introduced to protect the mafia involved in the business of human organs.

“The ordinance would protect private hospital owners, doctors and the agents involved in the business,” he said. He added that the government should consult all stakeholders before formulating a law. He said that the PMA denounced the business of organ selling in any form. “It is government’s responsibility to bar the notorious human organs mafia. He said that the culture of organ donations should be donated through the will of the people,” Dr Zahid asserted.

He said that the PMA denounced organ donations to people other than relatives and any law that the government made, should bound people to get organs from their blood relations only to help curb the country’s organ bazaar.

Former federal law minister SM Masood said that the government should introduce a foolproof and strict law against organs sale because the flow of foreign organ purchasers had been diverted to Pakistan after India had introduced a law regarding the issue. He said that every citizen must have a choice to donate organs to save other’s lives. He said that the government should focus on strict implementation of law and curbing kidney sale by ensuring transparent donations process.

He believed that involving stakeholders in the formation of a new law would have been one way to win the people’s trust and ensuring minimum loopholes in the system. However, he said, the government seemed unwilling to do this.


No comments: