Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Human organ donation in the UAE

The National:
Ill patients who desperately need transplants are shopping abroad for black market organs because there is no official donor system in the UAE.

Doctors have reported a growing number of people with renal and liver failure turning to illegal transplant brokers, many of whom have focused on the UAE because there is no register.
Medical experts say the only solution is a national donor system, which could potentially save hundreds of lives and reduce the financial burden of long-term kidney dialysis.

“People are unnecessarily dying because we have no [donor] system in place,” said Dr Abrar Khan, the director of transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), Abu Dhabi.

While there are no restrictions on cadaver transplants – organs taken from a dead person – none has been done in the UAE because of a legal grey area.

The shortage of donor organs is a problem that experts have warned is only likely to get worse. The UAE has some of the highest rates of diabetes and hypertension in the world, both major causes of renal failure.
A final draft for a new law that would make legal cadaver transplants possible by redefining brain death is being prepared by the Government, says the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (Haad). Dr Oliver Harrison, the director of the public health and policy division at the Haad, said: “To open up a new source for organ donation is a top priority for the Haad.”
The Abu Dhabi Fatwa Centre said it condoned organ transplants but under strict conditions – and money should never be exchanged.

“Generally speaking, it is acceptable if all parties involved give consent and there is a mechanism in place to ensure that no one is exploited,” the centre said.
Read it all. Thanks for the pointer.

Addendum. A commenter points to another excellent report on the subject at "Surging demand for kidney transplants among diabetes-stricken Gulf States is forcing many patients from the region to travel to Egypt in search of organs from desperate donors."



Blogger alexander... said...

Arabian Business, 23rd November.

10:54 AM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Thanks for the link, Alexander.

6:11 PM  

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