That human organ trafficking goes on in the country is a sad reality. Not only are wealthy nationals involved in the illegal organ trade but many foreigners also visit the country with the sole purpose of benefiting from the trade. Human organs are usually obtained from the poor and vulnerable and sold for a minimal cost in return. In order to curb these practices, authorities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have come up with an alternative whereby people are encouraged to sign up for organ donations after their demise.
There is nothing novel or unusual about the plan but it definitely brings much hope to K-P where a programme is being developed to educate people on organ donation and save a number of lives as a result. On February 22nd, the Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority granted approval to the Institute of Kidney Diseases for removing 16 human organs in a bid to replace a damaged or missing organ in the bodies of recipients in developed countries.
The provincial government’s programme is indeed commendable as legal organ donation is a rare occurrence in Pakistan especially since many still consider it a sign of disrespect to the dead — even though top clerics have issued many edicts in its favour. In the country’s 70-year-long history, there has only been a single example of cornea donation in K-P.
Organ donations save millions of lives throughout the world every year, as every 10 minutes someone is added to the national transplant waiting list according to the non-profit organisation, United Network for Organ Sharing. With K-P’s organ donation initiative not only will the poor in the province not be exploited through illegal organ trade but it will also give them access to affordable organ transplant for themselves.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2018.
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