Dubai: The UAE might soon allow organ transplantation from the deceased, providing huge relief to patients on organ donation waiting lists in the country, a senior transplant surgeon from UAE disclosed today.
The deceased organ donation programme, which is now available in all other GCC countries except for the UAE, might soon become a reality in this country too, said Dr Farhad Janahi, assistant professor and renowned kidney transplant surgeon at Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) at the Dubai Health Care City (DHCC).
Dr Janahi, who is currently on a trip to the US, spoke exclusively to Gulf News.
Dr Janahi, who was the chief researcher for the survey, based his conclusion on the findings of a National Survey on organ transplant that was presented at a special organ transplant forum held at MBRU last month.
Dr Janahi told Gulf News: “At present there are over 2,000 kidney patients on dialysis in the UAE on a waiting list for kidney transplants alone. Deceased organ donation programme is now a reality in all other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and this survey’s findings indicate that the people of UAE are ready for a new law on deceased organ donation.”
The national survey
The UAE-based survey, titled ‘The National Survey on Organ Donation and Transplant’, conducted by MBRU, included 500 respondents comprising expatriates and nationals above 18 years of age. The survey, which was headed by Dr Janahi, was conducted to study public awareness, beliefs and attitudes towards organ donation and to see if people were attuned to this idea. Nearly 68 per cent of the respondents said they were ready to donate in the event they became brain-dead, which shows that the country is ready for deceased organ transplantation.
The results of this survey were presented at the first UAE Organ Donation forum held last week at the DHCC which was held under the patronage of the Chairperson of Dubai Health Care City Authority (DHCCA), Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and was attended by 50 transplant experts, religious leaders and donors, among other attendees, and also highlighted means to expand organ transplantation services in the UAE.
Opening the forum, Dr Raja Eisa Al Gurg, vice-chairperson and executive director of DHCCA, said: “The MBRU was created in line with the vision of the rulers to improve the quality of health-care services and the health status of the population. Transplantation clearly improves quality of life and saves lives. Forums such as this one will help us achieve the objective of MBRU, which is to provide integrated medical education and research that is nationally responsive and globally connected.”
Dr Amer Ahmad Sharif, chief executive officer, Education Sector, DHCCA, said, “Creating a platform such as the first UAE Organ Donation Forum to discuss legislations, exchange ideas will help us reduce the gap between the demand and supply of human organs for transplantation.”
The forum was followed by transplant procurement courses — organised by the Donation and Transplantation Institute in Spain — which were attended by 44 health-care professionals, representing several entities including the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Health Authority — Abu Dhabi, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Healthcare City and Ministry of Presidential Affairs.
Dr Ali Al Obaidli, chairman of the UAE National Transplant Committee and the forum’s keynote speaker, said, “This forum, which was attended by industry experts from the GCC, provided a much-needed platform to discuss means to unify efforts among the organ transplant programmes in the region. The UAE has the potential to occupy a prominent place in the field of organ transplantation in light of the improved health-care services and a strong organ donation culture in the country.”
On the sidelines of the forum, 30 kidney donors were honoured at an appreciation ceremony.