KARACHI - At the end of a two-day conference and workshop on deceased organ donation and curbing menace of trade of human organs, a press briefing was held at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) here on Saturday.

The briefing was organised by a coordination committee appointed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Law and Justice Commission of Pakistan secretary, additional attorney general of Pakistan and Prof Adib Rizvi were present at the briefing, which adopted recommendations given by a working group.

It said that most effective way to curb commercialization and sale of organs and tissues is for the state, civil society, medical practitioners and health care providers to proactively promote donation of organs to be harvested from persons certified as brain dead in accordance with protocols that are internationally accepted. For that purpose, national and provincial registries be established at state expense to create a deceased donor database and bank. A data base of potential recipients should also be set up and prescribed methods should be adopted for safe and efficient harvesting of such organs.

At the same time, a transparent system for their equitable allocation and transplantation needs to be put in place. Appropriate rules can be made under the existing national and provincial legislation on transplantation of organs and tissues. The state should support the public hospitals in providing free of cost transplantation to all patients and provide lifelong care to donors and recipients. Capacity of all monitoring authorities should be exponentially enhanced.

The Working Group recommends that the state should institute mechanisms that enable all citizens desiring to join the deceased donor programme to exercise the option of making a lifetime gift of such organs. Deceased donors and their families should be publicly recognised through the award of medals and certificates.

Recognising that the state is duty bound to ameliorate poverty and exploitation that compels a person to agree to sale of his or her organs. Victims should be encouraged to come forward as whistleblowers and the law enforcing agencies and prosecutors ought to establish guidelines on when to prosecute the donor whistleblower or to make him or her a witness against others charged with partaking in unlawful transplants or aiding, assisting or abetting such activity.

Law enforcing agencies and prosecutors have expressed their frustration at the provisions of federal and provincial laws on transplantation dealing with the cognizance of offences under the respective federal and provincial acts.

The monitoring authority must ensure that it acts with all deliberate speed while dealing with complaints brought to its knowledge from any source, particularly from the vigilance committees of various law enforcing agencies, and that suitable rules be framed to prescribe the manner of filing complaints with the monitoring authority and for their expeditious disposal.

The Working Group recommends that transplant activities conducted at places other than establishments recognized under the transplantation acts and rules be punished under the regular penal laws and for that purpose an additional section be added in the Pakistan Penal Code by an amendment made by parliament in exercise of power under Article 142 of the Constitution.