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Law to facilitate more relatives to donate organs

Law to facilitate more relatives to donate organs

The government has cleared an amendment to the law allowing more family members to become potential organ transplant donors.The amended law will also require all hospitals without a specialised unit for such procedures to obtain prior approval for transplants.The draft of the ‘Organ Transplantation Act (Amendment) 2017’ was granted a final approval on Monday during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The amendment approves of grandparents, grandchildren and first cousins as potential donors, said Additional Cabinet Secretary Md Ashraf Shameem.

The existing law allows only siblings, children, parents, spouses, and blood-related aunts and uncles to donate organs.

“No hospitals can perform organ transplant procedures without securing an approval from the government, except for the state-run ones with specialised units for it,” Shameem told the reporters after the meeting.

Once the amendment goes into effect, it will allow transplant of any transplantable organs besides kidneys, heart, lungs, intestines, liver, pancreas, bone, bone marrow, eyes, skin and tissue, according to Shameem.

The government moved to amend the 1999 law following a High Court order of 2011.

Additional Secretary Shameem said the amendment aims to develop medical services in conformity with the progresses in medical science.

“It will also stop illegal businesses in and smuggling of organs,” he added.

Rules for donation

Shameem said any healthy person with normal intelligence can donate organs to relatives permitted by the law if there is no fear that the normal life of the donors may be hampered.

Donors of eyes and bone marrow do not need to be close relatives of the receivers.

The additional secretary said any legal heir can permit donation of any organ from a person declared brain dead.

The corresponding hospital can also do the same in such cases if no one claims succession of the potential donor within 24 hours of drain death, he added.

The official said the declaration of brain death must come from a committee of at least three specialist professors or associate professors of medicine or critical care medicine, neurology, and anaesthesiology.

But no one of the committee or their relatives can be involved with the transplant.

The additional secretary said the law details the conditions in which doctors cannot declare brain death.