DoH urged to review organ donation policy PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:06

The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) on Monday asked the Department of Health (DOH) to re-assess its policy on organ donation especially on its impact to the sovereign rights of patients to life.

"As I speak, there are numerous patients in the country who are fighting for their lives, in a death row-like cue, waiting for this life-saving procedure to be performed on them," PMA President Dr. Oscar Tinio said in a letter to Health Secretary Enrique Ona.

Tinio cited the urgent need to re-assess the ban on non-related donors which the department imposed earlier this year.

"Due to the current policy of DoH to put a ban on non directed donors, these patients will die without the needed organs to save them," he further stated.

Tinio alleged there is a severe shortage on donated human kidneys nationwide.

He said this was drastically aggravated by a stringent government policy to limit organ donation only to related donors, deceased donors and directed non-related donors.

The ban on non-related organ donors, which was initiated by Ona's predecessors, Drs. Francisco Duque and Esperanza Cabral, was triggered by media outcries regarding abuses in kidney donations, particularly the rampant sale of human kidneys among poor residents of Baseco Compound in Tondo.

Likewise, the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier tagged the Philippines a global organ trafficking hot spot, making it to its list of the top five kidney-trading countries in 2007.

The notoriety, coupled with lobbying by some doctors and religious leaders opposed to what they deem an unethical practice, led to the ban.

"We acknowledge that abuses were committed in the past and we definitely condemn these unscrupulous acts, however, the fact remains today that there is not enough supply of donor organs that can save the lives of our patients," Tinio said.