“The government amended the Human Transplant Act 1998 but it does not say much about deceased organ donation. The government has also not been able to form organ transplantation coordination committee till date. This has created difficulties for both the organ donor as well as the receiver,” said Dr Subhash Acharya, executive member, Nepal Transplantation Society.
The formation of organ transplantation coordination committee is necessary to formulate policy and to set up mechanism to facilitate organ donation.
The country also lacks organ retrieval team. No law has been formulated related to listing, registration and prioritisation of patients. “An autonomous body should be formed so as to keep all these information confidential. We don’t have any such team and the body to collect the details of the patients dying at hospitals, retrieve their organs and transplant the organs in other patients,” said Dr Acharya.
“Although families of brain dead ask if the organs of the deceased can be donated, but as there is no such team to retrieve the organs, we haven’t been able to take the organs from them,” he added.
As per Nepal Police data, more than 1,000 people lose their lives in accidents each year in the country. The act is also not clear about who will bear the medical expenses incurred during the process of retrieving such organs, according to the doctor.
“The government should address the problems related with deceased organ donation so that patients in need of organ transplantation receive organs on time and live a healthy life,” said the doctor.
As per the Human Organ Transplant Act 1998, an organ may be extracted from the body of a deceased or the organ so extracted may be transplanted into the body of another person only when it is certified by at least two concerned doctors that the person from whose body the organ is to be extracted is brain dead.
The act also states that no organ shall be extracted from the body of any deceased or brain dead person and transplanted into another human body in such a manner as to affect the post-mortem of that person who died as a result of murder or suicide or under doubtful circumstances.
At least, eight organs — two kidneys, two lungs, one heart, one liver, one pancreas, one small intestine, two corneas and skin — of a deceased patient can be utilised to give a new life to several other persons. Currently, Human Organ Transplant Centre in Bhaktapur alone conducts liver and kidney transplant surgeries in the country.
A version of this article appears in print on April 30, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.