Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing at MOHAP
Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health Policy and Licensing at MOHAP Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Twenty deceased donors have saved 55 lives in the UAE and 74 in total across the region since the country allowed cadaver organ transplants under Federal Law No.5 in 2016, said Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary of licensing and public health sector from the Ministry of Health and Prevention, on Thursday.

Al Amiri was delivering a keynote speech at the inaugration of the 15th Congress of the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP) when he revealed these statistics, which highlight the vital role the UAE is playing in deceased organ transplantation.

The three-day Congress is being attended by over 660 delegates from 50 countries.

A wide range of issues related to organ transplants will be discussed such as streamlining laws and processes for legal procurement of organs, laws to prevent organ trafficking and improving the standards of harvesting, preservation, transfer, and transplant of organs, and better regional and international co-operation.

Al Amiri said, “Organ transplantation is required in patients suffering from terminal organ failure when no other alternative is left. A single deceased can save up to eight lives donating a pair of kidneys, lungs, corneas each and one heart, pancreas and liver.

“Since 2017 the UAE has been able to save a total of 74 lives through cadaver organ transplants. In the UAE alone we have carried out 34 kidney, 10 liver, four lung and seven heart transplants saving 54 lives. The UAE has exceeded the rate of organs donated to reach 3.7 per cent, while the global rate is 3.7 per cent. 

“We have four facilties in the UAE to perform organ transplantation surgeries - Cleveland Clinic, Shaikh Khalifa Medical City both in Abu Dhabi, Mediclinic City Hospital and Al Jalila Children’s Hospital, both in Dubai,” Al Amiri added.

Hayat smart app for organ donation

Hayat, the organ donation registration App set up by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, has had 12,441 registrations since it was launched in 2018 and nearly 411 this month alone.

Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority announced the formation of a legal committee for organ transplantation and human tissue preservation.

“We have approved of the formation of a local committee for this which is liasing with an international think tank. This is a significant step that would allow the DHA to enhance the competitiveness of Dubai globally in the health sector.

Dr Susan Gunderson, co-chair of the Congress and President of ISODP thanked the UAE government for its pro-active role and said if coutnries cooperated then very soon no patient would have to die waiting for an organ.

Currently, 21 people die every day waiting for an Organ transplant in the US alone, there are 63,000 patients on transplant waiting lists in the European Union and 100,000 on waiting lists in the US.

A time line of milestones in the deceased organ transplant programmes in the UAE

  • * July 2017: First deceased donor at Al Qassimi Hospital, Sharjah and first kidney transplants carried out at SKMC and Mediclinic City Hospital
  • * December 2017: First complete heart transplant surgery carrie out in a UAE national at the Cleveland Clinic , Abu Dhabi
  • * February 2018: First liver transplant surgery carried out at Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi
  • * January 2019: Launch of Hayat, the first ever smart application for organ donation and transplantation by the Ministry of Health and Prevention