Stage set for human organ donation under new law
Monday, July 1, 2019 21:42
By NASIBO KABALE
The Health ministry has established a department to guide the donation of body organs following the new law that allowed transplants from the dead.
The new department, National Blood Transfusion Services and Human Organs Transplantation, will lead the implementation of the Health Act 2017, which allows people to donate their organs for research and other persons once they die.
Dr John Ngigi, the head of Kenyatta National Hospital’s Renal Unit in Nairobi, said the department would create a regulatory framework that would govern how organs can be transplanted in Kenya.
“This will change how things are done in as far as transplants are concerned. This law makes it clear on the harvesting of organs and even make it possible for people to consent to have their organs donated after they are dead,” he said.
The organs unit, headed by Dr Fridah Govedi, has been merged with the division of blood donor services and human organ in a review of departments that has affected 112 employees.
The new law allows a person, who is competent to make a will, to donate his or her body or any specified tissue to a person or institution of his choice after death.
Such consent can also be given by a spouse, elder child, parent, guardian elder brother or sister in the event the person died without leaving a will.
In the event that the relatives of a deceased person cannot be traced and no will is left behind, the Health Cabinet Secretary would have powers to donate the body or its parts.
The law says the organs donation must be done for free and those in breach face a fine not exceeding Sh10 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both.
The donation may be made for training of students in medical learning institutions, research or advancement of health sciences or healing purposes, including the use of tissue in any living person.
The medical practitioner who authorises the organ transplant would not be allowed to be the lead participant in the transplant.