Health experts have called for amending the law on organ transplantation to increase kidney donations, as the number of kidney patients is going up in the country amid shortage of kidney donors.
The Bangladesh Organ Transplantation Act 1999 allows donation of kidneys by blood-related relatives-- father, mother, siblings, children, maternal and paternal uncles or aunts and spouses.
“The law should be amended to include grandparents, grandchildren and cousins as donors,” read a report of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
“Therefore it is crucial to change the existing law or enact a new law so that more people can donate kidneys,” Professor Shahidul Islam Selim, chairman at nephrology department of BSMMU, said in his keynote paper at a discussion.
BSMMU organised the function at its auditorium marking 500 kidney transplantations between 1982 and 2016.
The estimated number of kidney patients has already reached to nearly two crore which was some 80 lakh just a decade ago, Professor Shahidul said.
Among the two options for patients with kidney failures, dialysis is very costly while kidney transplantation faces severe challenges due to scarcity of kidney donors, he added.
Professor MA Wahab, former chairman of BSMMU’s urology department, suggested that the law needs to be amended to allow donation of kidneys of brain dead.
A large number of those seeking transplantation also go abroad, mostly in India, where its cost ranges from Tk 20 lakh to Tk 50 lakh. But the cost is only Tk 1.6 lakh at the BSMMU, according to the report.
Dr Rafiqul Alam, former nephrology department chairman of BSMMU, said people should be convinced that donating one of the two good kidneys does not affect the donor while donating kidneys of brain dead can save thousands of lives.
Dr Golam Kibria, former urology professor, cautioned that the law should be framed or amended in a way that checks organ trafficking.
Dr MA Salam, former urology professor at the BSMMU, said the law has to be clear that there is no interest between the kidney donor and recipient, adding that the social welfare ministry can play a major role in this aspect.
BSMMU Vice Chancellor Kamrul Hassan Khan and pro-VC Shahidullah Shikder declared to donate their organs after death.
BSMMU pro-VC Sharfuddin Ahmed, registrar Dr Ali Asgar Moral, paediatric nephrology professor Habibur Rahman and Society of Urology President Dr SA Khan also spoke at the programme among others.