Law allowing organ donation after brain death yet to be implemented

Bhaktapur, October 15

Ten months on after the amendment to the Human Organ Transplant Act-1998 that allowed organ donations after brain death and largely expanded the organ donor pool, the amendment has yet to be implemented.

Doctors in Nepal began practicing paired kidney exchange three months ago, but brain death organ donation has not been in practice as of yet.

According to Executive Director of the Human Organ Transplant Centre Bhaktapur Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha, although the bill to allow organ donation after brain death was passed 10 months ago, the law has yet to be implemented.

Over 3,000 people in Nepal die of kidney-related diseases annually, while 1,000 brain deaths occur in the same period.

Implementing the practice of organ donation after brain death could save a significant number of lives every year.

Dr Shrestha said, “At least eight different organs can be harvested from one brain dead person such as the two kidneys, two lungs, one heart, one liver, one pancreas, one small intestine as well as two corneas and skin.”

“If we can allow donation after brain death in Nepal, our patients would not have to go abroad for treatment and transplant,” said Dr Shrestha.

Any hospital or health centre that declares a person brain dead must immediately inform a coordination unit designated by the government.

Upon receiving the information, the unit must then contact related health institutions for organ procurement and transplantation.

The donor hospital will be responsible for providing necessary resources for organ retrieval procedures whereas the coordination unit will arrange the proper storage of the organs. It must also have extensive database of organ recipients.