I don't usually have a high regard for Malaysia's politicians and bureaucrats, but here, I must take my hat off to Dr Ismail Merican for making a clear stand about this.
Malaysia opposes organ trafficking, transplant tourism & commercialism Director-General of Health Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said yesterday: “We are against organ trafficking, transplant tourism and transplant commercialism.”
By : Annie Freeda Cruez
He fears that what is happening in some other countries, where human trafficking to source for organs, may occur here. He does not want the vulnerable and poor to be made to sell their organs.
He warned that commercialisation of organ, tissue and cell transplantation, and any act that might indirectly promote or lead to commercial transactions of organs, was prohibited.
“Although it has not been reported in Malaysia, we are aware that it is happening in this region. We are against it,” he told reporters at the inaugural three-day World Health Organisation regional meeting on Guiding Principles on Human Organ Transplantation at a hotel here jointly organised by the WHO and the Malaysian Society of Transplantation. It is supported by the Health Ministry.
The ministry, he said, was against inducing vulnerable individuals or groups such as illiterate and impoverished people, illegal immigrants, prisoners and political or economic refugees being made living donors.
“We know that countries are struggling to attain self-sufficiency in the availability of organs for transplantation. It is in this unfortunate situation that unethical market practices such as transplant tourism and human trafficking are rearing their ugly heads,” he said.
There was a need to “decapitate these ugly heads” and restore order and accountability to the practice of organ transplant and that was the reason why WHO had prepared the revised guiding principles on human organ transplantation, he said.
Worldwide, he said, there were attempts to regulate the unbridled commercialisation with various strategies, proposals and mechanisms to “introduce morals into the market”.
However, the ingenuity of regulated “organ entrepreneurs” knew no bounds, said Dr Ismail.