Friday, November 24, 2017

Concern over kidney transplantation in Bangladesh; doctors’ call to introduce cadaver donation

  • Senior Correspondent
    Published: 2017-01-31 01:11:15 BdST

Surgeons extract the liver and kidneys of a brain-dead woman for organ transplant donation at the Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (UKB) hospital in Berlin Jan 12, 2008. Reuters

Doctors have called upon the government to promote cadaver organ donation in Bangladesh as they find living relatives are becoming less interested in donating kidneys.

Present and former kidney transplant surgeons convened at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University on Monday in a discussion marking the 500th kidney transplant in the University which first started the procedure in 1982.

The annual demand for the kidney transplant is estimated 5,000, but on an average, only around 120 people can manage kidneys from their relatives to undergo a transplant.

“Maybe due to a higher level of education or wealth, people are becoming less interested in donating a kidney to their relatives,” Prof SA Khan, a former transplant surgeon of the University, said.

“We should encourage cadaver donation now like other countries,” he said, pointing to the difficulties patients find in managing donors from the living relations.

“Many of the patients are taken away to India by the brokers due to the difficulties,” said Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University Prof Sharfuddin Ahmed.

Bangladesh does not have any study to say the actual prevalence of kidney disease and the need for organ grafting.

But some estimates suggest at least 20 million people suffer from some form of kidney diseases in Bangladesh and 35,000 of them die of kidney failure every year.

Bangladesh Organ Donation Law 1999 allows posthumous or brain-death kidney donation apart from living close relatives, but steps have never been taken to introduce such donation.

Among the relatives, only brothers, sisters, father, mother, maternal and paternal uncles and aunts can donate kidneys under the 1999 law.

“We need greater social awareness,” Prof MA Salam, a urologist, said suggesting to adopt "the models of some European countries like Spain and the Netherlands."

“The government can take organs from the dead body in Spain and Netherlands. They don’t need to take permission from the family members,” he said.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Kamrul Hassan Khan also stressed on “concerted social movement” to encourage cadaver donation.