KARACHI, Aug 29: Responding to a Supreme Court order issued on August 27, the Sindh health department on Wednesday finally notified the establishment of a monitoring authority under “The Sindh Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance-2012”, which was promulgated by the Sindh governor late Tuesday night, to regulate organ transplant surgeries carried out by specified medical institutions across the province.
Of the 44 government and private hospitals permitted by the federal government for organ transplant procedures, seven were in Sindh — six in Karachi and one in Gambat — said a source in the department.
The apex court had asked the chief secretaries and health secretaries in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to explain as to why they had failed to notify the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance-2012 and its rules.
Following the devolution of the health-related activities to the provinces, effective monitoring of the procedures carried out under the federal laws could not be ensured in the province, as the legislation and promulgation or enactment of a set of laws to provide for removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and tissues for therapeutic purposes remained pending for over a year.
If the monitoring authority received a complaint about illegal transplant centres working in Sindh, transplantation of human organ by force or for want of money, it would take action under the new provincial law, the source added.
According to the Wednesday notification of the health department, a nine-member monitoring committee, with the provincial health minister as its chairman, shall appoint an administrator, preferably from the medical profession, and also appoint such other officers as may be required, on terms and conditions to be determined by it, to carry out the day-to-day business of the authority.
The provincial government shall provide the authority a reasonable grant for the purpose.
The members of the monitoring authority constituted under Section 8 of the Sindh Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Ordinance, 2012, are health secretary, who will also act as secretary of the authority, Karachi police surgeon, presidents of the Transplantation Society Sindh, Ophthalmological Society Sindh, Pakistan Medical Association Sindh and Society of Gastroenterology Sindh, besides an eminent surgical transplant specialist and an outstanding medical specialist (both nominated by the health department).
The authority will monitor transplantation and enforce prescribed standards for recognised medical institutions. It will investigate and hold inquiry into allegations of breach of any provision of the provincial organ transplant ordinance, inspect recognised medical institutions and hospitals for examinations of quality of transplantation, follow-up medical care of donor and recipient and any other matter ancillary thereto and also periodically inspect institutions wishing to be recognised.
The body will also cause establishment of a provincial registry and regional networks for evaluating quality and outcome of transplant centres and cause enhancement and promotion of transplantation.
“Due to shortage of available human organs for transplantation to meet lifesaving patients’ needs, the monitoring authority will explore and support the international collaboration for xenotransplantation in future, after considering all ethical and safety risks and also continue to examine and collect global data on the practice, safety, quality, efficacy and epidemiology of stem cells as well as non-human organ transplantation,” the Sindh government’s notification included.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan late Tuesday night promulgated the ordinance pertaining to the grafting of human organs or tissue of any living or deceased person to some other living persons for therapeutic purposes.The ordinance is almost a provincial version of the related legislation introduced by the federal government originally as an ordinance in September 2007. It was made into law in March 2010 after the draft bill was passed in the national assembly and the senate.
The Sindh government ordinance calls for the regulation of human organ transplants in the province and making their sale and unauthorised transplant punishable with up to 10 years in prison and fine up to one million rupees.
The law has provisions for a regulatory mechanism and evaluation committees, for the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and tissues for therapeutic purposes. It however, prohibits the practice of their donation or sale to foreigners.This ordinance allows a voluntary organ or tissue donation by a living donor of at least 18 years to any other ‘genetically and legally related’ person, who is their close relative such as a parent, son, daughter, sister, brother and spouse, with authorisation from an evaluation committee of specialists in the field helped by local notables to be set up for every recognised medical institution and hospital.According to the law, any person who is not less than 18 years if age may before his death, in writing duly signed and verified by the respective “evaluation committee”, donate any of his organ or tissue for transplantation and for this purpose may authorise any medical institution or hospital duly recognised by the monitoring authority.