Guyana introduces legislation to allow for organ transplants

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A national Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Agency could be established to manage the removal, donation and transfer of human organs to the body of other living individuals in what will be seen as a victory for persons who have been waiting on kidney transplants and other organ transplants.

The legal measures for organ transplants were tabled today in a Human Organ and Tissue Transplant Bill that was presented to the National Assembly.

There is currently no legislation governing, authorising and regulating the donation of tissue and organs to persons who meet the criteria of either being a donor or recipient of such donation. But work had been ongoing over the past few months to craft new legislation.

This Bill, once enacted, would provide the much-needed framework to allow people to benefit from organ transplants.

According to the Bill, presented by the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, the Agency will facilitate, coordinate and manage the donation process for organs, tissues, cells and biofluids for transplantation.

Transplantation is the process of taking an organ or living tissue and transferring it to another part of the body, or another individual’s body entirely. This Bill deals with the implantation of those bodily components into other people’s bodies.

The Agency will also be empowered to implement the donation process, wherein it will coordinate with the hospitals permitted to engage in organ and tissue transplantation.

The Health Minister can grant permission for any hospital, including a private hospital, clinic, healthcare provider, laboratory or any other facility to be designated a transplant facility.

Importantly, the Agency will collaborate with those designated hospitals to establish the operating procedure for the management of serious adverse events and reactions under a framework for quality and safety.

Access to information, particularly as it relates to granting consent for the donation and use of organs as well as the provision of education to the public and health, and implementing quality assurance programmes are also proposed functions of this Transplant Agency.

The members of this Agency will include a Chairperson appointed by the Health Minister, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Medical Officer and the Chairperson of the Medical Council.

Additionally, four other medical workers with various levels of expertise will be part of the Agency.

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