Cabinet okays draft human organ transplantation law
The Cabinet on Monday gave its final nod to the draft of "The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 2017", which was brought before the Cabinet incorporating some tougher provisions in the existing law, aiming at improving the healthcare services by keeping consistency with the excellence in medical science and tackling trafficking of human organs and its illegal trade.
The approval was given at the regular Cabinet meeting held at the Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
After the meeting, Additional Cabinet Secretary Ashraf Shameem briefed media about the Cabinet's decision in absence of the Cabinet Secretary, who is now on an overseas tour.
According to the provisions of proposed law, giving false relationship information between organ donors and recipients or encouraging, provoking or threatening anybody to provide such information will be considered as punishable offence. The persons involved with such offences will have to face maximum two years imprisonment or highest Tk 5 lakh fine or both.
Violation of other rules of the law or helping others in this regard, will also be considered as an offence, its highest punishment will be three years rigorous imprisonment or fine of maximum Tk 10 lakh or both.
"If any doctor is convicted under the law, his or her Bangladesh Medical or Dental Council registration will be scrapped," he added.
He also said if any hospital or clinic violates the law, its owner, director and manager or whatever designation they hold will be considered as an offender unless they are able to prove that the crimes are committed beyond their knowledge and they tried their best to check those.
If any hospital or clinic commits any crime under the law, their organ transplantation permission will be cancelled along with imposition of fine, which will be imposed considering the offence, he added.
While expressing reaction over the proposed law, experts of medical sector and working for the betterment of the patients claimed that the inclusion of the new and tougher provisions will help the government tackle the offences regarding transplantation of the human organs.
Dr MH Chowdhury Lenin, Chairman of the Health and Hope Hosiptal of Dhaka, told the Daily Observer that organ transplantation in Bangladesh is a new and growing issue. The new law may help the government tackle trafficking of human organs and its illegal trade.
Regarding impact in legal transplant, the renowned physician said it is not the proper time to comment on the issue. Let the government pass the law in parliament and promulgate the rules and regulations for implementing it. Only then opinions could be given.
When commenting on the new law, Bangladesh Patient Welfare Foundation's Secretary General Prof Dr Rakibul Islam Litu, also Head of Cardiology Department of Uttara Adhunik Medical College, told this correspondent that it would help flourishing the organ transplantation sector.
Because only approved medical facilities will be permitted to transplant organs after implementation of the law and the authorised physicians will be allowed to carry out the transplantation. As a result, the incident of unauthorised and stealing or illegal trade of organs will be stopped, he opined.
While briefing, Additional Secretary Ashraf Shameed said the government has taken the initiative to amend the law for improving the healthcare services by keeping consistency with the excellence in medical science and check trafficking of human organs and its illegal trade.
While briefing journalists, Shameem said it was mentioned in general in the existing law enacted in 1999 that if anybody violates any rule of the law or helps in this regard, he or she will face maximum seven years and minimum three years rigorous imprisonment or Tk three lakh fine or both of the punishments.
Shameem said the people of the country do not need to go abroad for organ transplantation if it is effectively done in Bangladesh. The draft law defines close relationship as the relatives like parents, children, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, husband and wife as well as blood related grandparents, maternal and paternal uncles, aunts and cousins.
According to the proposed draft law, organs transplantable to the human body include kidney, liver, bone, eye, heart, lung and tissue collected from human bodies having heart beats or in life support for transplantation purpose.
Shamim said as per the draft law, no hospital in the country can do the human organ transplantation without prior approval of the government.
He, however, said, the public hospitals having specialised units regarding the concerned organs can conduct the transplantation without taking any approval of the government.
A three-member coordination committee will be formed in every hospital comprising a neurologist, an anesthesiologist and a medicine or critical medicine specialist and they will no less than professors or at least associate professors, the Additional Secretary said.
He said the proposed law restricts any person to be included in the committee who is a relative of the organ recipient.
As per the proposed law, an 11-member National Cadaveric Committee would be constituted with Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) as its Chairman to oversee the human organ transplantation as well as to advise the government in this regard.
Besides, there will also be a four-member certification board to be headed by a director of the Health Directorate, and no organ transplantation will be allowed in any hospital of the country without certification of the board.
The Additional Secretary said there will also be a three-member medical board to be headed by a professor of the surgery department in every hospital for deciding the transplantation of the organs. The board could also co-opt one or more expert physicians as its members.
Shamim said the private hospitals will have to apply for certification of the board within 60 days of the enactment of the law.