Top digital news site GhanaWeb calls for legislation on organ health

Ghana’s digital news platform, GhanaWeb, in conjunction with the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, is embarking on an aggressive campaign which is geared towards ensuring that parliament passes comprehensive legislation to guide organ harvesting, organ donation, and organ transplantation in the country.

Organ donation and transplantation is a crucial aspect of healthcare that can save lives and improve the quality of life for many individuals. In Ghana, organ donation and transplantation are recognized as essential medical interventions, and efforts are being made to promote awareness and legislation in this area.

Currently, Ghana lacks any proper laws that will make way for human organs to be harvested, donated, and transplanted. The lack of legislation according to seasoned medical practitioners who spoke to GhanaWeb is a major source of worry and in many instances leads to avoidable deaths in the major hospitals.

Earlier this year, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital made a breakthrough, performing two major kidney transplants by a wholly-assembled Ghanaian medical team -the first of its kind in Ghana.

But even with that breakthrough, patients who need kidney transplants for example can only do so if the donor is a close family relation. This is because there are no laws that permit doctors to accept a kidney from 3rd parties who are not related to the patient.

The passage of a law or legislation will however open up the pool of donors wider and thereby save many lives. It will also allow people to sign up to willing donate parts of their organs in the event they die in order for those organs to save other people’s lives.

In this light, GhanaWeb has decided to embark on a campaign to promote the need for legislation regarding the donation of all body organs. Currently, there is a draft legislation document developed by senior medical personnel at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital that focuses on organ harvesting and donation in the country.

This, according to a Urologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has been reviewed and fine-tuned by the various health ministries and is currently awaiting legal drafting.

According to him, the legal document, if passed by parliament to become a Bill, will ensure that a legal framework is provided for the harvesting and use of donated organs to save more lives.

GhanaWeb’s Organ harvesting, donation, and transplantation campaign seeks to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders including ministries, officials at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and other hospitals in the country, survivors and beneficiaries of organ donation, parliamentary members, and government officials to ensure that there’s enough awareness and urgency for the passage of legislation regarding organ donation.

The Bill for Organ Donation if approved by parliament and gets presidential assent seeks to among other things;

• Allow room for people aside from close family members to donate organs with their consent.

• Allow for people to give consent for their organs to be harvested in the event that they die; what is called Cadaveric (organ donation involving taking organs (heart, lungs, kidney, liver, pancreas) as well as tissue (skin, corneas, tendons from bone) from brain dead and heart dead people.

• Prevent the exploitation of people for human organs (where people are forced, manipulated, or killed for their organs)

• Provide regulations of how organ donation banks will use organs that are harvested and stored such that there is no discrimination.

Source: GhanaWeb

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