New law allows organ donations after death in UAE

Health officials in UAE, have approved a new law that will allow the donations of multi-organ after death, Arabian Business reported on Tuesday.

The law, approved recently by the UAE Health Council, enables a person to donate their kidney, liver, lungs and heart after death to a registered patient on a donor waiting list.

The system will also allow collaboration between GCC countries and other Middle Eastern nations, similar to the donor systems in Europe and North America.

To date, only live organ donations have been carried out in the Gulf states because of religious considerations. However, this has led to a thriving black market in illegal donor organs partly fuelled by wealthy Gulf Arabs. Neighbouring Egypt is considered one of the top five ‘host’ countries for organ trafficking by the World Health Organisation, alongside China, Columbia and Pakistan. An estimated 10 percent of all transplants worldwide use trafficked organs.

The law was compiled by officials from the National Organ Transplant Committee, legal professionals and Sharia experts, in a bid to address regional issues and shortages, a health council statement said.

Already in the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Transplant Center, has performed a number of successful live kidney donations in recent years.

SKMC will become the centre of excellence for multi-organ transplants in the UAE, the statement said.

The next step in the organ donor programme will be to train dedicated physicians, nurses and transplant teams, as well as a public information campaign to raise awareness about donations.

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