2007 Blog
Kidney transplantation in the Kingdom - second report
17 September 2007
A report recently published by the WHO website revealed that kidneys are the most required organs for transplantation in 98 countries. In 2005, 66000 kidneys have been transplanted, a figure representing about 10% of estimated requirements. The same year also witnessed about 21000 and 6000 liver and heart transplantations respectively. But though the report revealed increases in both kidney and liver transplantations, such increase failed to cover the increasing demand.
 
The MOH Official Speaker Dr. Khalid M. Al-Marghalani said the total kidney transplantation operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been 4984 operations, 1672 operations from brain-dead donors and 3312 from relatives. He said 371 kidney transplantations have been carried out in 1427, compared to 316 transplantations in 1426. The total liver transplantations according to Al-Marghalani have been 529 transplantations, 346 transplantations from brain-dead donors and 183 from relatives. Other transplantations included 122 heart transplantations, 536 cornea transplantations, 26 lung transplantations, and two pancreas transplantations.
 
He said 54 acceptance cases from brain-dead donors had been obtained in 1428 till the end of sha'aban, from which 70 kidney transplantations, as well as 34 liver transplantations and 8 heart transplantations have been carried out. In addition, 23 cases have been utilized as sources for heart valves and 9 cases as sources for corneas. The Council of Ministers has issued the resolution No. 235, dated 16/09/1427, whereby alive non relatives have been allowed to donate organs in accordance with the controls provided for in the Fatwa of the Council of Senior Scholars No. 99, dated 06/11/1402H. The Council of Ministers also assigned the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, in cooperation with Prince Fahad bin Salman Charitable Society for Kidney Failure Patients, to formulate terms and procedures for accepting organ donations from alive relatives in accordance with agreed legislative and ethical controls. 
 
Al-Marghlani said the resolution No. 235 had been the result of the efforts of the National Committee for Kidney Transplantation in two years, combined with the efforts of the members of the Health Sectors Representatives Branch Committee emerging from the Council of Health Services. They submitted their proposal for the resolution in light with the legal and ethical consequences as well as the laws and procedures followed in the different countries. They also took into consideration the decisions of relative international and regional organizations, especially the decision of WHO number 57, dated 22/05/2004, on organ and tissue transplantation. The recommendations of the April 4 International Meeting for Caring the Alive Donor, the regulations issued by the United Kingdom in this regard in May 2004, and the medical procedures for caring alive donors adopted by the International Organization for Transplantation have also been considered.
 
Dr. Al-Marghalani said all above regulations had stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of the donor. They offered the donor full right to donate without feeling he is under pressure in doing so. They also stressed the importance of forming committees to follow the ethical aspects of cell, tissue, and organ transplantations. In addition, the regulations encouraged transplantation from alive donors as possible and called for measures for protecting patients and donors against organ trading.
 
He said the Minister of Health and Head of the Council of Health Services Dr. Hamad Al-Mane had approved the Executive Bylaw for Exercising Organ Transplantation.
 
"But in spite of all above achievements the Ministry of Health is looking for more efforts and participation of all health sectors in order to be able to cope with the developments in the field of health care provided to kidney failure patients", he said.
 
Dr. Al-Marghlani said many achievements had been realized last year, including adoption of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation as a reference center for the GCC Council of Health Ministers. Another achievement had been the resolution of the Council of Ministers regarding widening organ donations to include alive non relative donors in accordance with adopted legal and ethical controls. The application of this resolution is expected to raise the rate of kidney and liver transplantations, provided that measures must be taken for preventing organ trading.
 
"There are certain measures that must be taken by all hospitals and organ transplantation centers", said Al-Marghalani. "For example, the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation must be informed of all brain death cases and all hospitals in the Kingdom must form internal committees for brain deaths and organ transplantation".
According to Al-Marghalani the said organ transplantation committees must be formed as follows:
 
The Brain Death Committee: This committee will be responsible of following all brain death cases and will raise respective reports to the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, including their recommendations regarding the developments required for improving brain death programs in their provinces.
 
The Convincing Committee: This is the committee which addresses the inheritors, families and relatives of brain-dead people for obtaining their approvals to donate organs.
 
They are also responsible of verifying the brain death case in accordance with the items provided for in the diagnosis form and the procedures usually followed in such cases.
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