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A ray of hope

31 Jul 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Oman Transplantation Society formed, to operate under umbrella of Oman Medical Association

Thousands of patients in the sultanate with renal failure and others needing organ transplant have a reason to cheer with the formation of Oman Transplantation Society (OTS). 

The society was established in June 2021 and operates under the umbrella of Oman Medical Association. Speaking to Muscat Daily, Ahmed al Busaidi, one of the founders of OTS, informed that it is an important step towards organ transplantation in the country as it will contribute to supporting national efforts to develop an integrated programme for organ transplantation. Members include a group of specialised doctors and those interested in organ transplantation. 

Organ transplantation is the only hope for many patients with organ failure, including children, adolescents, young people and the elderly. These patients are sometimes forced to travel abroad and use illegal methods to obtain organs and endanger their lives in order to obtain a donated organ.

According the Ministry of Health, the list of patients awaiting organ transplant is long owing to a severe scarcity of donors. Statistics of the ministry reveal that there are 2,500 chronic renal failure patients in the country, of which more than 600 are in the Governorate of Muscat.

“OTS will aim to conduct awareness and educational campaigns for various segments of society on the importance of organ donation and organise meetings, seminars and scientific conferences for medical staff to inform them of everything new in the field of organ transplantation. It will cooperate with the Ministry of Health and various relevant authorities to support the national programme for organ transplantation and people who have donated their organs and patients who have undergone a replacement organ transplant. The society will also issue protocols and treatment guidelines for organ transplantation, and work to provide an alternative organ transplant for patients with organ failure at the earliest opportunity,” Busaidi said.

“We welcome volunteers, residents and citizens, to participate in the society through its website to alleviate the suffering of patients with organ failure.” 

Citing examples and significance of organ transplant, Dr Hamad bin Khalifa al Kalbani, resident physician in Cardiac Surgery Department at Sorbonne University, Paris, said, “A brain dead patient in southern France, by God’s grace, saved six patients from death in different French cities. A few days ago, we performed a heart transplant operation for a 19-year-old patient and saved his life. 

“Organ donation is important as there are many Omani patients who need urgent transplants. Once a person is laid to rest after death, his body withers which doesn’t benefit anyone. So people should volunteer to donate organs to save patients suffering from organ failure.”



Islam permits organ donation


“Organ donation is permissible in Islamic law because it saves lives,” Sheikh Dr Kahlan Nabhan al Kharusi, Oman’s assistant grand mufti, has stated in a fatwa. 

“Organ donation must be free of charge; an organ must not be sold. Islam urges saving lives and donating organs is one way of doing so. God has said in the Holy Quran, ‘And whoever saves a live one, it is as though he has saved the lives of all mankind,” Dr Kharusi said. 


National programme for organ transplant


In March this year, H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health, issued a ministerial decision to develop a national programme to regulate human organ and tissue donations. 

The National Programme for Regulating Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues will contribute to clinical and scientific research and implementation of a technical committee’s recommendations in regulating the practice of human organ and tissue transfer and transplantation. The national programme is also proposing priority standards to perform organ and tissue transplantation, control mechanisms and inspection of medical practices in this area, besides developing a plan to enhance community awareness about the significance of tissue donation and encourage organ donation.

Veteran blood donor Ahmed bin Hamad al Kharusi, who has donated 170 times, said, “The sultanate finds it difficult to provide human organs for donation and has to rely on imports. Organ transplants outside Oman are expensive as these involve the cost of searching for a donor, travel and accommodation abroad for extended duration of time during the operation and recovery.”

He called on all to accept the idea of donating organs.

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