Editorial : Organ trade - Monday 2nd May 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/02/organ-trade.html

LEGISLATION without due implementation is pointless. As the highly respected Prof Adibul Hasan Rizvi of Karachi`s Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation said at a press conference on Friday, negligence by the health and other authorities has led to a resurgence in organ trafficking after a relative lull in recent months. The reason is simple: abject poverty that drives penniless people to `donate` their organs and the failure of the state machinery to check this abhorrent practice. Foreigners who come to Pakistan for illegal organ transplants can be tracked and traced. It should be a matter of routine. But that doesn`t happen for some reason on more occasions than one, leading many to believe that a nexus exists between the authorities and unscrupulous medical practitioners who have lost all sight of their oath. `Transplant tourism`, as it is described by some, ought to be a cause for national shame and shunned by all right-thinking people. Of course, it happens elsewhere in the world as well but that is no reason to turn a blind eye to blatant exploitation of the monetarily deprived.
The secretary general of the Transplantation Society of Pakistan, Prof Mirza Naqvi Zafar, was forthright in telling this paper that these practices cannot take place without official `connivance`. But the finger of blame, first and foremost, must also be pointed at the physicians who carry out such operations to line their pockets without any regard for the welfare of poor people. These `middlemen` who call themselves doctors simply because they have a degree, however obtained, with which to prove their credentials need to be brought to book. The organ transplant law passed by the National Assembly was the result of a long, hard struggle by dedicated people who never gave up on their mission. It is now the job of the government to ensure that the writ of the state is enforced in letter and spirit. The police can certainly play their part, as can physicians and members of civil society whose conscience impels them to drag wrongdoers into the net. This is a collective responsibility and cannot be ignored.

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