The call made by health experts at a roundtable, regarding amendment to the Bangladesh Organ Transplantation Act 1999, in the capital on Saturday, to make the law ‘more flexible’ in a bid to solve the donor crisis in kidney transplantation, indeed deserves attention of the authorities concerned. According to the existing law, a patient can receive organ donated only by his/her parents, siblings, parents’ siblings, and spouses. As mentioned in a report published in New Age on Sunday, speakers at that roundtable, organised by the Kidney Awareness Monitoring and Prevention Society, have advised the government to allow at least the patient’s cousins to donate organs.
It is needless to point out that transplantation of organ is regarded as a major progress in providing an effective cure to a patient who is in a condition of irreversible failure of an organ like kidney, liver etc. And with the rise in different chronic non-communicable diseases, especially kidney related ones, that sometimes lead to even failure of the organ, resulting in the fatality to the patient concerned, it has indeed become essential to make this mode of treatment available in the country. But, unfortunately, mainly due to shortage of donors apparently because of some wrong conceptions, particularly about the condition of the donor during the post-transplantation period, among people at large, the country is yet to make significant progress in this regard thus far. Also, the law in question appears to put obstacles to the availability of donors. Reports are there that many of the physicians concerned remain unwilling, even in cases where donors are available, to carry out transplant operations fearing legal complications.
One has reasons to argue that flexible regulations might encourage illegal trade in kidney. In particular, as the number of poor and marginalised people is awfully large in the country, the section of people, who wants to make quick bucks, may cash in on such a situation. At the same time, however, it cannot also be denied that stringent monitoring on the part of the relevant authorities, including the law enforcing agencies, could thwart abuse of the amended law, deemed to pave way for saving hundreds of human lives.
Experts have rightly pointed out that ours is such a society where people generally live in close family bonding, thus, if made properly aware of the importance of organ transplantation, they will come forward voluntarily to donate kidney or other organs, removal of which prove non-fatal to the donor concerned, to their relatives. The government immediately needs to pay heed to the experts’ suggestions for creating massive awareness about the impact of organ transplantation and amendment to the relevant law.
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