PESHAWAR: The administrator’s office at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority has been lying vacant for over a year hampering plans to promote organ donation in the province for transplantation.
According to health officials, the MTRA has become dysfunctional due to the top vacancy.
Prof Asif, a renal transplant surgeon at the government-run Institute of Kidney Diseases, was the last MTRA administrator, who abandoned the office after retirement in Sept 2020 on attaining the age of superannuation.
He was made the administrator for three years in 2017 and was re-appointed for three more years in Aug 2020.
The government had established the MTRA in Nov 2016 to enforce the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority Act, 2014, for regulating the transplantation of human organs.
Officials say vacancy hampering plans to promote organ donation
The authority recognised the IKD as the first facility to perform surgical procedures for the purpose leading to the first transplant a few months later free of charge.
Officials told Dawn that Prof Asif’s retirement led to a halt to renal transplants at the IKD.
They said Prof Asif along with his team had carried over 100 transplants in IKD, while around 50 were on the ‘waiting list’.
The officials said long delay in the filling of the top vacancy was hampering activities at the MTRA, especially the grant of no objection certificates to the people needing organ transplantation in private hospitals.
They said the regulatory authority had no offices, while its staff members totalling two worked from home to the trouble of patients as well as relevant officials.
The officials said the IKD, which pioneered renal transplantation in the province, had also recognised private hospitals for the procedure.
They said the MTRA was established to facilitate lawful transplants and check illegal ones in the province.
The officials insisted that the dysfunctional MTRA had led to the growing incidence of unlawful organ transplants.
They said the government had allocated Rs25 million for the MTRA to establish offices, buy stationery and vehicles, and perform other work, but the amount was unspent due to the vacancy of the administrator.
The officials said until Prof Asif was a government servant, the MTRA used his IKD office for operations but after his retirement, that was no more the case.
They said patients were seen search for the two MTRA employees for the mandatory transplantation NOC.
The officials said under the rules, the nine-member MTRA was required to hold a meeting every three months to discuss the cases of transplants, including donors and recipients, and check illegal transplantations in the province, but no such meeting had taken place during the last one year.
They said the new administrator was to be appointed by the chief minister on the recommendation of the chief secretary.
The officials said two private hospitals in Peshawar had already been recognised by the MTRA, where the patients wanted to undergo transplants.
They said patients got NOCs after long delays as the two MRTA employees feared legal issues over the matter.
The officials said certain conditions were to be fulfilled for renal transplants, which required the MTRA administrator and ‘committee’ members to evaluate cases approval.
They said besides renal transplants, the MTRA had authorised Hayatabad Medical Complex, Khyber Teaching Hospital and Lady Reading Hospital for corneal transplants as well.
The officials said the regulatory authority had planned to establish regional offices, recognise health facilities for transplants at the district level and check illegal procedures.
They also said the MTRA was mandated under the law with raising public awareness of organ donation for transplantations, but the top vacancy had blocked plans for the purpose.
The officials said before doctors prepared patients for transplantation, extensive verification was carried out about the donors’ relation with them and get their particulars verified by the Nadra to ensure that the whole exercise take place within the parameters of the law.
They said the authority required offices as well as more staff members to carry out all functions appropriately.
Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2021