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June 25, 2019

Experts call for wider acceptance of deceased organ donation program in society

Karachi

June 25, 2019

Medical experts have called for maximizing efforts to make the “ethical deceased organ donation program” more acceptable in the society at large.

Experts representing WHO (World Health Organisation) and other international medical institutions were taking part in the debate on Monday, the opening day of a two-day international conference jointly organised by the SIUT’s CBEC (Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture) here on Monday.

The conference, titled “Ethical Deceased Organ and Tissue Donor Program, made an in-depth discussion on issues concerning deceased organ donation. They declared that organs and tissues from deceased donors were a viable remedy for those patients who were suffering from end stages. The conference was also informed that in Pakistan alone over 50,000 died every year due to end stage of organ failure.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jose Nunez, who is an adviser to WHO on transplantation, spoke about the guidelines of ethical transplantation of his organisation, which, he said, practised among the member countries.

He said “procedures of transplantation” were moving ahead globally as they were a reliable source of treatment. The WHO official however underlined the need for larger acceptance of deceased organ donations, particularly in the developing countries, by creating mass awareness and establishing ethically sound infrastructure. Dr Alicia Perez Blanco form the Spanish National Transplantation Organisation spoke about the factors contributing to Spain’s phenomenal success in establishing a deceased donor program.

Dr Valerie Luyckx from the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine, University of Zurich, was another speaker who spoke on the role of WHO Collaborating Centre in the efforts to promote ethical practices in organ transplantation.

Earlier, the chairperson of the CBEC, Dr Farhat Moazzam, highlighted the activities of her centre in promoting the ethical healthcare system. Prof Adib Rizvi, director of the SIUT, also spoke and recounted the practice of ethical transplantation being carried at his institute for past many decades.

The afternoon session of the conference focused on challenges in establishing deceased organ donor programs, as experienced in different countries. Dr Sunil Shroff gave his views regarding India in a Skype talk, followed by Dr Iftikhar Khan from Saudi Arabia, Dr Katayoun Najafizadeh from Iran and Dr Anwar Naqvi from the SIUT, Pakistan.

All four speakers provided country perspectives on deceased organ donation and spoke of the ethical challenges raised by prevailing systems. They also discussed perceptions about brain death in the healthcare circles in their countries, the reasons why some people donate and others do not.

They also underscored the importance of transplant coordinators in the structure of transplantation and existing training programs for them. Later, Dr Fareena Hanif and Dr Arslan Khan of the SIUT discussed the ethical aspects of brain death and donation of organs from deceased donors.

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