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October 6, 2019

Hospitals in Sindh told to report brain-dead patients to HOTA for recovery of organs


October 6, 2019

The Sindh Health Department has directed all public and private hospitals in the province to report all brain-dead patients to the Sindh Human Organ Transplant Authority (HOTA) and not to withdraw life support from such patients for 70 hours or more after being declared them brain-dead so that their relatives could be convinced to allow organ donation to save lives.

“The heads of all public and private health institutions are directed to report brain-dead patients to Sindh HOTA helpline 0300-0064882 or inform any authorised person declared by the Sindh HOTA to recover the organs of the deceased with the consent of the surviving spouses or parents or adult child of such person,” said an order issued by Sindh Health Secretary Saeed Awan, which was showed at an awareness session to promote deceased organ donations in Pakistan.

The awareness session to promote deceased organ donations was organised by the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), and it was addressed by Director SIUT Prof Adibul Hassan Rizvi, Administrator HOTA Dr Aijaz Khanzada, Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi, Dr Nasir Luck, Dr Sadia Nishat and Dr Waseem Khan. Some patients who were having end-stage organ diseases and had nobody in the family to donate organs to them also spoke on the occasion.

Sindh HOTA Administrator Dr Aijaz Khanzada said the notification issued by the health department was to facilitate deceased organ donation. In this regard, he said, public and private hospitals were being asked to report brain-dead patients who were on life support so that their relatives and loved ones could be convinced to allow the procurement of organs from the body so that these organs could be transplanted to those who required organ transplantation to live healthy and normal lives.

“The heads of public and private hospitals have also been directed to keep the brain-dead patients for 70 hours so that their family members could be convinced for organ donation,” Dr Khanzada said but added that in case the family refused to allow recovery of organs, the body would be handed over to them without any objection.

To a query, he said that at the moment, only the SIUT had a internationally-trained and qualified team of experts who could procure organs from the body of a brain-dead person and preserve them but added that with the passage of time, other health facilities would also be asked to get expertise in recovery of human organs and their preservation so that they could be transplanted to people with end- stage organ diseases.

The Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation director and a strong supporter of deceased organ donation in Pakistan, Prof Adib Rizvi, urged the media to highlight the importance of deceased organ donation, saying organs of a dying person could help save eight lives. He added that since the start of kidney transplants by them at the SIUT in 1985, they had so far performed over 6,000 kidney transplants and saved thousands of lives.

“But daily 450 to 500 people die in Pakistan due to various organ failures, which include kidney, liver, heart, pancreas and others vital organs, because people in Pakistan do not believe in donating their organs after death and saving others’ lives. On the other hand, deceased organ donation is now a normal practice in other Islamic countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malaysia and several others,” he added.

Urging the media to educate the masses on deceased organ donation to save lives of young people and children dying due to organ failures, Prof Rizvi called up all members of the society to come forward and make the deceased organ donation program popular in the country.

Pointing out the death toll of patients dying due to the non-availability of organs, he said around one hundred and fifty thousand people die every year due to organ failure but this figure could be higher.

Dr Nasir Khan, a physician at the SIUT, in his speech presented the Islamic perspective of human organ transplantation and stressed that deceased organ transplantation was an acceptable norm in the Islamic world, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and many other countries.

He said all believers representing various schools of thoughts in the Ummah had supported the program declaring that human life was a precious thing.

Dr Waseem Khan, a coordinator of the deceased organ donation program at the SIUT, gave an overview of the program at the SIUT and progress achieved so far, while some patients with end-stage kidney, liver, heart diseases also narrated their ordeals, announced donating

their healthy organs after death and urged the people to come forward and donate their organs to save lives.

The event was also attended by Justice (retd) Majida Rizvi and Zubeida Mustafa, a prominent journalist. They urged the media and influential segments of the society to support deceased organ donation in the best interest of humanity.