Helping hand: Several Szabist students pledge to donate organs

KARACHI: Several students of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology pledged to become organ donors after attending a seminar on Wednesday.

Soon after they heard Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) present dismal statistics on organ donation in the country, several students rushed to the booth set up outside the hall and enrolled in the SIUT donor programme. He was speaking to students and the media at a seminar on ‘Deceased Organ Donation’ at the institute.

Dr Rizvi revealed that Pakistan needs on an average 25,000 kidneys, 8,000 hearts and 12,000 livers every year and over 50,000 Pakistanis die of organ failure every year. Deceased organ donation may strike to many as a noble cause but few actually step up and sign up to be donors, he regretted.

Organised by Szabist Social Sciences Department and SIUT, the event sought to remove any preconceived notions that students may have about transplantation and urged them to learn more through the organ donation booth set up at the seminar. Dr Rizvi took questions from the students to give them a clearer picture about transplantation and urged them to continue creating awareness about the procedure. “We have passed the baton on to you,” he said.

“The purpose of organising events such as these is to create awareness and get people to trust in organ donation again,” pointed out Dr SA Anwar Naqvi, a professor of the department of urology and transplantation at SIUT. For two decades, Pakistan was notorious for being the world’s leading ‘transplant tourism’ destination where serpentine organ brokers and private hospitals made a fortune selling kidneys to international buyers, he told The Express Tribune.

The introduction of the 2007 transplantation of human organs and tissue ordinance prohibited commercial organ donation, legalised deceased organ donation and disallowed donations to foreigners in an effort to stop this illegal practice, he added.

The ordinance, passed in 2010, has given organisations, such as the SIUT, a chance to change people’s perception about organ transplantation and encourage them to become organ donors. “Organ transplantation should be about sharing not selling,” said Dr Naqvi.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2014.

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