UGANDA – Uganda’s healthcare providers have asked the government to fast-track the Uganda Human Organ Donation and Tissue Transplant Bill to save many Ugandans from seeking services abroad.

Carrying out organ transplant procedures within Uganda will save the patient up to 60% of the costs they would have incurred for the same service abroad.

A patient in need of an organ transplant of any kind will have to part with roughly UGX 300M (US$85.42). However, Ugandan medics argued that the costs can be subsidized to accord patients reasonable fees.

Whereas equipment and medical personnel are available to carry out the much-sought-after service, what is currently standing in the medics’ way is the enactment of the law,” said Dr Julius Luyimbaazi, the Medical Director at Rubaga Hospital.

Organ and tissue donation and transplantation is a medical procedure in which an organ is removed from one body and placed in the body of a recipient to replace a damaged or missing organ or tissue.

Transplantation involves organs and tissues such as the kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, heart, small bowel, stem cells, bone marrow, cornea, skin and reproductive tissues.

Organ transplantation is one of the highest value treatments in medicine as it is often the only life-saving option for patients with end-stage organ failure.

It improves the quality of life by restoring organ function and eliminates debilitating symptoms of chronic organ failure such as poor mobility, depression or infertility.

It is also a significant cost-saving intervention both for patients and health care systems and facilitates social reintegration as it enhances mobility as well as employment and education possibilities.

Luyimbaazi expressed frustration towards the delay in the enactment of the law saying the number of patients particularly in need of kidney, cornea and liver transplants increases by the day.

Approximately 1,000 patients are in dire need of organ transplant services, according to statistics from Mulago Hospital.

Last year, the cabinet approved the transplant bill meant to provide for regulation of removal, storage and transportation of human organs.

The bill seeks to establish a legal framework for human organs, cells and tissue transplant in Uganda as well as regulate donations and trade in human organs, cells and tissue for safety and security of Ugandans.

The law is also meant to establish the Uganda Organ Transplant Council and regulate removal, storage along with transportation of human organs, tissues and cells for therapeutic purpose.

Moreover, it will provide for the designation of hospitals as transplant centers, the approval of human organ, tissue and cell banks and appropriate consent for purposes of human organ, tissue and cells donations and transportations.

Once enacted, the law will also prohibit commercial dealings in human organs, tissue and cells as well as protect the dignity and identity of every person and guarantee without discrimination.

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