Guyana will soon draft legislation to outlaw commercial human organ harvesting, transplant tourism and organ trafficking, operations which are very attractive on the lucrative, but illegal, global market.
This is according to a release form the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) which says that University of Calgary Professor Serdar Yilmaz, who will visit Guyana this month, will meet with local stakeholders to continue discussions leading to fine tuning the content of the draft legislation.
Yilmaz, MOPH officials and the representatives of the Attorney General’s Chambers are scheduled for further talks later to help Guyana develop legislation to regulate Brain and Cardio/Respiratory Death Law and organ Transplantation Law.
According to the release, the Brain and Cardio/Respiratory Death Law will set the rules which define the precise circumstances and mechanisms under which organs of a deceased person can be donated, while the organ Transplantation Law will guarantee donor and recipient safety and prohibit unethical practices such as transplant tourism, commercial organ harvesting sales and organ trafficking for the lucrative black market.
While in Guyana, Professor Yilmaz will also be performing 5 kidney transplant surgeries on Guyanese patients. Kidney transplant surgery is done free of cost at the GPHC but costs as much as US$40,000 (G$8M) at a private hospital says the MOPH.
Illegal organ harvesting has been linked to the equally notorious trafficking in persons (TIP) global business. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that patients in the United States of America (USA) can pay as much as US$70,000 to over US$160,000 for a transplant package.
More than 120,000 patients in the US need various forms of organ transplants which include kidneys, bone marrow, liver, lung, intestine and cornea. Five new persons per hour are added to the waiting list in the US.
Professor Yilmaz was a key figure behind the establishing Guyana’s public kidney transplant program and advancing the Nephrology and Dialysis Unit at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
The Unit benefits patients diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) requiring permanent dialysis.
According to the MOPH, during their stay Yilmaz and his team will also do a needs assessment to improve systems in the department of the GPHC.
Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence has lauded the work of Professor Yilmaz here in pushing for the necessary legislation for organ donation and says she is committed to ensuring that the legislation and necessary regulations are on the local statute books.
She stated further that she looks forward to future collaborations with the Canadian university.