KARACHI: The year 2020 marks the completion of 10 years of promulgation of ethical transplantation law in the country which was designed to serve as a deterrent to unlawful and unfair practices of organ trade, states a press release issued by the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation.

Unanimously passed by the National Assembly and later by the Senate, the landmark law mandates the formation of a high-level authority and evaluation committees, for the removal, storage and transplant of human organs and tissues for therapeutic purposes.

President Asif Ali Zardari had signed the human organ transplant bill into law in March, 2010, at a ceremony during which he pledged his organs for donation by signing a donor card.

‘Before the law Pakistan was known as the world’s largest kidney bazaar’

This programme was followed by another event held in Karachi which was attended by visiting representatives of International Transplantation Society, Prof Francis Delmonico and Dr Noel of the World Health Organisation.

“Before the law was promulgated, an estimated 1,500 illegal unrelated donor transplants were taking place annually across Pakistan, which had gained notoriety as the world’s largest “kidney bazaar”.

Poor kiln workers and farm helpers were the main victims as they were duped into selling their kidneys for a paltry sum of Rs100,000 while the hospitals and unscrupulous doctors made millions from foreigners, who paid up to $30,000.

The law significantly reduced the illegal unrelated transplantation, particularly for foreigners. Moreover, the law enforcement agencies became more vigilant and got involved in prosecuting offending doctors and technical staff who were put behind bars. The process of speedy justice helped control illegal transplant activity.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2020

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