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Egypt passes new organ transplant law
Egypt passes new organ transplant law
Egypt’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to pass regulations on organ transplants in the country. It ends months-long controversy over a bill aimed at curbing illegal trafficking and tourism that has arisen from organ dealing.
Tuesday, March 2,2010 16:16
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CAIRO: According to the law passed, Egypt has banned commercial trade in organs and barred Egyptians and foreigners from transplants with each other, except in cases of spouses.

The government will now finance all organ transplants in government-run hospitals.

The passing of the bill comes only weeks after the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said earlier this month that hundreds and possibly thousands of poor Egyptians are selling their organs, mainly kidneys and liver, each year to pay off their debts and buy food, making Egypt the center for the illicit organ trade, confirming what was said by the World Health Organization (WHO) said in this regard.

The report highlighted by local newspapers, quoted experts as saying that the law for organ transplants is “controversial.”

The UN report questioned whether this law is only for the rich, referring to the “fears” and concerns by some human rights activists of the new law, saying that “it may open the door for human trafficking in Egypt” and “turn Egypt into a global market for organ trafficking.”

The report quoted Hafez Abou Saeda, the Secretary General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), as saying “this law is only beneficial to the rich people,” adding that “the government is shifting the poor into sources of human spare parts that could be provided for the rich in Egypt and beyond, turning it into a market enjoyed by a good stock of organs, through the provision of legal cover for the transplant.”

The report said there are no statistics on the sale of organs and transplants in Egypt because they “take place in secret,” pointing out that Abou Saeda indicates that hundreds of illegal organ transplant operations “are made each year,” which confirmed that hundreds of wealthy people, who receive the organs from donors, do not trust the skills of local doctors, accompanying their donors with them to China in order “to conduct operations there,” the report stated.

Abou Saeda added that the wealthy from Arab Gulf states also come to Egypt to buy Organs, adding that “such a law could be a great plague in a poor country like this.”

The report also pointed to the viewpoint adopted by the Regional Director of the WHO in the Middle East and North Africa, Hossein Jazayeri, who considered the ratification of the law a great step and “creates hope for thousands of patients who have been waiting a long time for an organ transplant operation in order to save their life.”

He also said it is an important step to face the trafficking of organs, which usually leads to surgeries that “take place in unsafe conditions [and] that could harm both the donor and the patient.”

tags: Egyptian Parliament / Transplant / Ministry of Health / World Health Organization / Abu Seada / EOHR
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