Cabinet has approved the Uganda Human Organ Donation and Tissue Transplant Bill 2020, the Minister for Information and ICT, Judith Nabakooba has said.
“The bill seeks to establish a legal framework for human organs, cells and tissue transplant in Uganda and also regulate donations and trade in human organs, cells and tissue for safety and security of Ugandans,” Nabakooba said.
She noted that the Ministry of Health will soon present the bill before parliament.
Uganda currently follows the World Health Organisation’s Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplants which only allow harvesting of a needed organ from a living donor.
According to the guidelines, cells, tissue and organs should be donated without any monetary payment or other reward of monetary value and that execution of the donation and transplant must be transparent and open to scrutiny.
Consequently, because there is no enabling law, harvesting of any body part can’t be carried out and no person can make a will authorizing that their organs be given to another person.
Therefore, the law prohibits harvesting of human tissue from dead bodies.
Uganda Human Organ Donation and Tissue Transplant Bill 2020 is aimed at establishing a legal framework for human organs, cells and tissue transplant in the country.
“The bill is also intended to regulate donations and trade in human organs, cells and tissue for safety and security of Ugandans,” a document by the Ministry of Health about the bill says.
The Ministry of Health says that the bill will help reduce on expenditure on referrals abroad for organ transplant procedures yet it can also be done here.
Explaining more about the bill, the ministry says that the country loses over $70 million per month spent on referrals abroad as the country relies on India, USA and South Africa for human organ donation and tissue transplant procedures.
“With improved public medical services, more trained specialists coupled with emergence of high-end private medical facilities; Uganda is at an advanced stage of commencing human organ donation and tissue transplant.”
In past, it has been argued that there is an increase in illicit human organ trade in Africa, and this has partly been blamed on weak laws and enforcement, poverty and human trafficking.
The Ministry of Health however says that if passed, this law will provide a legal framework for donations and transplants in the country but also regulate the practice and trade in organ and tissue for the safety and security of Ugandans.