Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kidney Donation Shortage in the Philippines

This is what you get when even the Philippine government wants to make money from the organs of donors (MOSTLY POOR PEOPLE). This was never about protecting people. 

Kidney shortage bared; DoH asked to review donation policy


November 29, 2010, 5:49pm

MANILA, Philippines – Doctors revealed Monday a severe shortage of donated kidneys and asked the Department of Health (DoH) to re-assess its policy on organ donation, saying it hampers their ability to save the lives of more patients.
In a letter to the DoH, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) asked health officials to “re-assess its policy on organ donation.”
“As I speak, there are numerous patients in the country who are fighting for their lives, in a death row-like cue, waiting for this life-saving procedure to be performed on them.
Unfortunately, due to the current policy of the Department of Health to put a ban on non-directed donors, these patients will die without the needed organs to save them,” PMA President Dr. Oscar Tinio stated in the letter.
PMA defines non-directed donors as those who donate organs without specifying the recipient of their donated organ.
“The non-directed donations go to anybody in the waiting list. This is one of the biggest source of viable donated kidneys and this what was banned by the DoH,” Dr. Mike Aragon, chairman of the media affairs of the PMA said in a separate interview.
The reported illegal sale of kidneys in several areas in the country prompted the DoH to come up with Administrative Order 0004 in 2008 that banned transplantation for foreigners.
An IRR was also instituted that strengthened the donation of living non-related donors to patients needing transplantation. This means the donors are operating on an “altruistic” nature in donating their organs.
The DoH policy reversed its previous rule that allowed transplants on foreign patients after approval from the Philippine Network for Organ Donation and Transplantation (Phil NETDAT). This was after the DoH found that there was a 62 percent increase in foreign patients who acquired kidney transplantation from 2002 to 2006. In 2008, the DoH also observed that the supposed limit in performing transplants among foreign patients, 10 percent of the total number of transplants a year, have been exceeded both in accredited and non-accredited hospitals of DoH.
Tinio noted that there is a severe shortage on donated human kidneys nationwide that was “further aggravated” by a restrictive government policy to limit organ donation only to related donors, deceased donors, and directed non-related donors.
The PMA official noted that at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), the number of transplants came down by 20 percent in 2010 from the usual more than 300 transplants on Filipino patients every year. This is contrast to the rising demand of transplant which PMA estimated by 10 percent annually.
“There are almost 12,000 dialysis patients in the country today. Of these, at least half are suitable transplant candidates. If there are 6,000 transplantable patients and only less than 500 gets a kidney, therefore only eight percent of the need can be supplied,” Tinio said.
In 2007, the DoH announced there was an estimated 1,046 organ transplantation procedures performed in the country. But it was reduced to 679 in 2008 and it went down further to 511 in 2009.
“We acknowledge that abuses were committed in the past and we definitely condemn these unscrupulous acts, however, the fact remains today that there is not enough supply of donor organs that can save the lives of our patients,” Tinio said.
“If there is a defect in the nation’s human organ donation system it should be fixed by putting the needed safety nets. Choking the already limited supply of life-saving human organs in the country will surely kill the system and the lives of our patients with it,” he added.
Kidney transplant amounts to P2 million and up, the PMA estimates.
The doctors suggests for the DoH to institute safety nets against abuses in kidney donation and transplantation that includes greater surveillance and implementation of regulations by the DoH assisted by the private sector; elimination of organ brokers; a government-regulated system of donor recruitment and allocation guarded by the private and religious sector; a government and private sector supervised post-donation follow-up of donors; promotion of deceased or brain dead organ donation and the enhancement of our country’s emergency medical services capabilities to support the program.

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