Health Ministry to find ways to increase organ donors in Malaysia

Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam

PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is looking into ways to increase the number of organ donors to use harvested organs in a wider scale, particularly for kidney transplant.

Minister, Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam said this was because hospitals were not getting sufficient organs suitable for transplant to increase the number of people who could benefit.

He said most on the organ transplant waiting list were in need of kidneys but only a fraction had pledged to donate in the country.

“Unfortunately, we are not getting enough suitable organs for transplant. We need to increase so those who are waiting can benefit from this.

“This is something we are trying to improve,” he told reporters when met after a cheque presentation to 33 Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) to build 50 pre-school classrooms with an allocation of RM10 million, which was announced in Budget 2017.

Dr Subramaniam was responding to a claim that doctors in Malaysia played the role of ‘middleman’ in arranging for organ transplants for their patients from their counterparts overseas, which was against the Human Tissues Act 1974.

While not denying the claim, he however, stressed that such an act was illegal and not something which was supported by the ministry.

“It is something we will advise them not to do because there can be a lot of complications which can arise from this. Every country has its own regulation on organ transplants and they (countries) want to protect their citizens so that they are not exploited by people, especially on organ sales racket.

“Those who are doing it should avoid it. As far as our legal system goes, Malaysia does not support that,” said the minister, adding that todate, most transplants in the country involved living donors of organs such as kidneys, from the families of patients.

To a question, Dr Subramaniam  said the organ donations were ultimately still dependent on the approval of family members despite the pledges made by the donors while they were still alive.

“The ministry is still honouring the wishes of the family. But we are also studying on a mechanism how to strengthen our system so that we can overcome this problem,” he added. — Bernama

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