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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Medical teams to be trained on organ transplantation

BY PMA RASHEED
20 May 2010, The Gulf Today
TRAINING sessions for specialist doctors and surgeons, nurses and transplant teams, in addition to public awareness sessions on organ donation and transplantation will be the next step in the implementation of the UAE's revolutionary organ transplants law.
The appendix approved by the UAE Health Council with the definition, guidelines and regulations on the practice of organ transplant, will come into effect in the UAE from the date of its publishing in the official gazette, according to health officials.
The regulation to allow donation of life-sustaining organs in the country is in light of a worldwide shortage of organs, said Dr Ali Abdul Kareem Al Obaidli, chairman of the National Organ Transplant Committee, consultant of nephrology and kidney transplantation at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, and chief clinical officer for the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company.
"The adoption of the regulations will provide opportunities for the coordination among the Gulf countries for organ donation, as is the case among European countries and the United States and Canada," he added.
The groundbreaking move was hailed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the medical fraternity in the Emirates. The WHO said that the new regulation would tackle human organs black markets in the UAE and the region as well as organ transplant tourism, as people travel abroad for an operation.
Dr Obaidli said, "The law has specified that the organ transplant must be conducted with respect to the human dignity during its removal from body, and should be protected from abuse or mutilation. [Moreover], information about the donor's body or body of the deceased should not be disclosed unnecessarily."
The MoH circular had said that the transplant of organs could be from live or dead donors other than the relatives of the patient. If the organs are transplanted after the donor's death, a written consent of the donor or the first and second degree relatives of the donor is mandatory.
According to the document released by the National Organ Transplant Committee on Sunday, transplants of kidneys, liver, lung, pancreas and the heart are permitted in the UAE.
Living people above the age of 21, having perfect mental and physical fitness, will be able to donate their organ, if it can be removed without endangering the donor's life.
However, the Health Council could not reveal exact statistics on how many people needed organ transplants in the UAE.
The MoH circular had pointed out that the organ transplantation surgeries will be conducted only at special centres, clinics and hospitals licensed by the health ministry.
The largest hospital in the UAE's capital, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), has performed around 25 live transplants, after the facility set up a multi-organ transplant programme in 2008.
Except in the case of a cornea transplant, the country currently allows organ transplants only from related, live donors because of the risks involved in accepting organs from unrelated persons.
The law has clarified the ambiguity over transplants using vital organs from brain-dead persons, said Roberta Al Housani Blakely, transplant coordinator at SKMC.
Experts from Dubai had played a major role in drafting the Istanbul Declaration of 2008, which called for the prohibition of organ trafficking and transplant tourism. The declaration, signed by 72 countries, stated that countries should strive to achieve self-sufficiency in organ donation by providing adequate number of organs for residents in need from within the country or through regional cooperation.

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