Indian Specialist advises MPs on organ transplant.
A bone marrow transplant expert from India, Dr. Gaurav Kharya has tipped Members of Parliament on what is necessary for Uganda to commence organ transplant.
Kharya is a clinical lead at the Apollo Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy in India.
According to Kharya, Uganda has the basic minimum to start transplants for basic cases. He highlighted the presence of a fully functioning blood bank, laboratories and expertise as crucial for starters.
“You need a blood bank which has all the infrastructure, the efficacious machines which are available and very good laboratories,” said Kharya.
Kharya said this during a zoom meeting with the Health Committee on Thursday, 25 August 2022 where he was giving his views on the Organ Transplant Bill.
On the required expertise, he said he was aware and proud of the quality of training offered in Uganda for the pediatric hemato-oncology.
This is a branch of medicine where bone marrow transplant is used to treat blood cancers such as leukemia.
“I know Uganda has a very nice training in pediatric hemato-oncology. I am even excited that people from Africa such as Nigeria are taking this training from Uganda,” said Kharya.
He advised that physicians interested in carrying out organ transplants should be subjected to a dedicated training to understand the process.
For those who are financially strong, Kharya advised them to consider spending time in specialized transplant centres in India.
Dr. Kharya also gave guidance on some of the provisions within the bill that have met controversy from the stakeholders who appeared before the committee.
He for instance guided that in India, children as young as six years can be donors to their fellow children as opposed to the provision to deter children below 18 years from donating an organ, cell or tissue.
Hon. Hope Grania Nakazibwe (NRM, Mubende District) wondered whether the Indian government compensates organ donors who may get side effects during the process as has been proposed by stakeholders in Uganda.
“Do you have provisions that guide you when you are handling a donor? Who compensates them in case they develop any complications?” Nakazibwe asked.
Kharya said that the Indian government does not run any compensation programmes but runs a comprehensive awareness on organ donation and transplant.
Kharya said their government subsidizes services for the poor patients by meeting 50 to 60 per cent of the costs of transplant.
He added that there are non- governmental organizations involved in mobilizing funds for the people who require transplant services.
Kharya urged the committee to plan for a comprehensive awareness campaign on organ, cell,l, and tissue donation to get a ready and large register of volunteer donors.
“Once you complete the bill, initiate an awareness campaign about organ donation to create a register of volunteer donors and tell them the scientific benefits,” he said.