Guiding Principles of Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation

In keeping with the Guiding Principles of Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation; World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health does not condone any unethical practices of human organ trading and exploitation of the underprivileged groups like the poor and executed prisoners for their organs. It is undeniably correct that the Chinese Government’s act to stop allowing organ transplant from executed prisoners will limit foreigners including Malaysians from getting organs from China but such action is needed to preserve ethical principles in the practice of medicine and to avoid further exploitations. It is therefore critical for every country to ensure self-sufficiency of organs by preventing organ failures and to encourage its citizen to altruistically donate their organs. This can be achieved through proper and better management of non communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes and also continuous education to encourage the public to donate organs and tissues after death.

Currently, the Ministry is still finalizing the draft of the new law on organ transplantation. The purpose of drafting a new law is to ensure the practice of transplantation is in accordance with the highest ethical standards. Malaysia practices an opting in system whereby the people are required to voluntarily register to pledge their organs. This is in contrast with opting out system as practiced in some countries whereby all citizens are presumed to be organ donors unless they opt out from the system and express their objection. Therefore, even with the passing of the new law by the Parliament, public education is still vital to promote organ donation in the country.

In Malaysia, until 31st October 2014, 269,961 people has pledged as organ donors. 49.05% are Chinese, 23.62% are Indian, 23.58% are Malays and 3.75% are from other ethnicity. However this number only accounts for 0.9% from total Malaysian population. There are 488 deceased donors who has donated various organs and tissues since 1975. For this year alone until 31ST October 2014, there are 44 organs and tissue donors. 54.55% are Chinese, 34.09% are Indian, 6.82% are Malays  and 4.55% are from other ethnicity. The waiting list for organs are still very long. There are 18,373 patients who are currently waiting for various organs.

Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
DG of Health Malaysia

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