Society of Organ Donation starts session in Dubai - GulfToday

Society of Organ Donation starts session in Dubai


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A first in the region, the 15th session of the International Society of Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP) began on Thursday in Dubai under the auspices of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of the Dubai Health Authority.

Six hundred delegates from 50 countries covering the entire spectrum of legitimate organ donation, procurement and transplantation in order to curtail all forms of transnational organ trafficking are attending for 55 lectures and 35 workshops until Saturday. Resource speakers are from Australia, Brazil, India, The Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, US, Japan, South Korea, and the UAE.

Three organ transplantation coordinators from The Netherlands in a brief chat with Gulf Today said the procedure has been in place in their country since the 1960s although there were instances of opposition in relation to religious beliefs. Part of their responsibilities is to liaise with concerned European Union authorities.

Congress co-chair/Emirates Medical Association Nephrology Society (Emans) president Dr. Mona Al-Rukhaimi stated in her plenary session speech, “The most important objective is to contribute to the legal procurement of organs as stipulated by international standards which were drafted for the first time in Dubai in 2007 in the presence of the (ISODP) and the International Society of Nephrology under the auspices of (Emans).”

She was grateful to the huge support of the Saudi Centre for Organ Transplantation (SCOT) in the pursuit of the UAE National Organ Transplantation Programme.

Interviewed, Al-Rukhaimi traced the history of organ donation and transplantation in the UAE. This began in 1985 with the donors limited to the organ recipient’s willing living relatives. An “(expatriate) surgeon” carried out the procedures. In the next 23 years or until 2008, 62 kidney transplantations were performed.

“There was a gap from 2008 to 2012 because the (non-local) surgeon who used to do the procedure left the country. From 1985 to 2008 and then 2012 (when UAE National Committee for Organ Transplantation chair/Abu Dhabi Health Services Co.-Corporate Academic Affairs Group chief officer) Dr. Ali Al Obaidli (returned) to 2017, organ transplantation was done only with living relatives as the donor. But with the Federal Law No. 5 of 2016 (which regulates the transplantation and preservation of human organs and tissues, and works to prevent the trafficking of organs and tissues apart from protecting people’s rights and disallowing donors’ and patients’ exploitation), organ donation and transplantation can now be (accomplished) with cadavers as well. We can now do organ transplantation in the UAE with both living relatives and the (declared brain dead) as the donors.”

Al-Rukhaimi emphasized that organ trafficking in the UAE is heavily fined as so ordered in the Federal Law No. 5 of 2016. She said a total of 140 cases of kidney transplantations in the UAE “from cadavers” have been performed in the UAE since 2017. Majority of organ transplantations across the world and in the UAE concerns the kidneys.

In her speech, Congress co-chair/outgoing ISODP president/LifeSource (US) chief executive officer Susan Gunderson highlighted the furtherance of the “culture of donation” and responsible stewardship for organ transplantation as the main goal of ISODP.

“We want this platform in the UAE to be elevated across the region through broad stakeholders’ commitment. (Our worldwide mission is that) no one dies waiting for an organ transplantation. It is our responsibility to offer hope to those at the end-stage of organ failure.”

A visit at the SCOT booth revealed that Saudi Arabia, since 1996, has been in an “Organ Sharing” commitment with fellow GCC states such as the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait as well as Spain, Tunisia and Jordan. The reason is the proper matching of organs for transplantation. In 22 years, shared and transplanted were 72 kidneys, 161 liver, 29 heart, 66 lungs, three pancreas, and 63 “tissues, heart for valves.”

In Saudi Arabia, the first kidney transplantation from a living donor was performed in 1979; first kidney transplantation from a deceased in 1986; first liver transplant in 1990; and first lung transplant in 1991.

SCOT records showed one donor could save eight lives: heart, liver, kidneys (times two), lungs (times two), pancreas, and bowel. Seventy-five lives could be improved through tissues and cornea transplantations.

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