- The legal framework is to protect Ugandans from being potential victims of organ sale and tissue trafficking.
- There is a need to continue sensitizing the public about how best they can prevent conditions that may lead to organ failure, because treatment is very costly.
Uganda is ready to conduct organ transplant once the law legislating organ, Tissue and cell transplant is enacted, Dr. Charles Olaaro the Director Curative Services in the ministry of health has revealed.
“When we were specifically renovating Mulago specialized hospital in terms of infrastructure, this was already taken into consideration. So the infrastructure is there and what we need is just an enabling law. We already even have the capacity in terms of human resources” he explained.
The Director Curative Services in the ministry of health said the law seeks to protect people from being trafficked to illegally harvest their organs.
“The law is very punitive, because we want to deter people from taking organ transplant as a trade because this would increase the risk of human trafficking in order to get organs. Definitely if you are found selling an organ the law will be punitive and I wouldn't advise anybody to risk” he averred.
He made the remarks during celebrations to mark World Organ donation day marked every 13th August organized by Uganda Martyrs hospital Lubaga under the theme “Organ failure is easier prevented than treated. Live Healthy”.
He however noted that in the beginning the ministry of Health will continue working in partnership with established institutions already doing the transplant in different parts of the world.
“So we will continue to work with institutions in India and the rest of the world to develop our capacity”.
Uganda cannot conduct organ transplantation until there is an enabling law.
The good news is that the law is currently being scrutinized before the committee of health of parliament.
Dr.Olaaro noted that it’s important that a framework for the organ tissue transplant is put in place. The framework is to protect Ugandans from being potential victims of organ sale and tissue trafficking.
“This is a very lucrative area and if it is not well handled then it will lead to aspects of trafficking” he said.
Dr. Julius Luyimbazi the Executive Director Lubaga Hospital said there is a need to continue sensitizing the public about how best they can prevent conditions that may lead to organ failure, because treatment is very costly.
“When you look at Mulago for example, you find that people are on the waiting list for dialysis, and a big percentage of those need transplants but they can’t afford to go to India. The majority don’t actually know that they have organ failure” Dr. Luyimbazi stated
Dr. David Martin Atuhe a nephrologist at the hospital warned the public against self-medication, because overtaking of some drugs pose a risk for kidney disease.
He named pain killers diclofenac and Ibrufen as some of the drugs that should not be ingested without a doctor’s prescription.
During the celebrations, a kidney donor Sarah Nandaula gave her testimony of how she donated her right kidney to her sick sister who had been on dialysis. In 2015, she underwent the process in India, and urged people to donate organs to save lives as long as they are medically proven fit to do so.
She said, after the transplant she did not suffer any complications as many people think.
“For the seven years since I donated, with my one kidney I have never seriously fallen sick or been admitted in hospital, I do my work normally, I do everything as before the transplant. I am telling you the transplant never affected me” she testified.