Thursday, November 4, 2010

Organ trade tenesmus in Malaysia

Malaysia is for living unrelated donors....., or not?

First it was reported that Minister of Health for Malaysia Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said his Ministry was looking at improving the National Transplantation Act which was being drafted to serve as a guideline on unrelated live organ donations.

He said the new law would enable the authorities to monitor live organ donors which at present were encouraged for only family members and relatives of patients.

"We have to be careful because commercialisation of organs is a big problem. The selling and buying of organs is against human principles and not ethical," he said, adding that if non-relatives want to make live organ donations, it should be out of sincerity and not for monetary gains.

Sure sounded very much like Singapore's position a year or two ago.

Then almost in response, the Health Director General Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican in the 4th November New Straits Times, was reported as saying, "Malaysia is against living unrelated donors donating organs because of the risk of organ trading and trafficking...... If living donation is to be carried out, it should come from genetically, legally or emotionally related donors."

Hmmmm..... a bit of tenesmus there.

Singapore, by the way passed a law allowing compensation of organ donors, effectively allowing living unrelated donors to receive compensation for donating their organs. Not sure if it is just engaging in semantics to suggest that this is essentially organ trading.

What is needed now after more than 18 months of this law, is for MOH to update us with respect to how many such unrelated living donations have been effected, and the details of such donations. One of the major concerns had been the exploitation of poor donors from neighbouring countries, and servicing of wealthy recipients who are no citizens. It would be really nice and reassuring if the MOH to tell us what the numbers are, and how we are actually monitoring/regulating the situation.

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