Mauritius to debate Human Tissue Bill in Parliament

Port-Louis, Mauritius (PANA) - As the Mauritian Parliament prepares to begin the second reading the Human Tissue (Removal, Preservation and Transplant Bill) on Tuesday, Health and Quality of Life Minister Anwar Husnoo has given the assurance that the law will not in any way contravene or impede on one’s religious or cultural beliefs of the people.

He said that strict provisions have been made in the legislation to deal with any person who might intend to indulge in trafficking of human tissues, adding that the Government has, at heart, the health and the wellbeing of its population.

“In view of the different cultures, religious beliefs, values and principles prevailing in Mauritius, introducing such a legislation in our Mauritian society has not been an easy task. The more so, that there will always be apprehensions that some people might want to illicitly take advantage of the system," he said.

The minister emphasised that tissue transplantation is an effective therapy for end stage organ failure and is widely practised around the world.

Quoting from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Minister said that tissue transplants are carried out in more than 90 countries.

“It is estimated that over 100,000 organ transplants are performed globally every year, of which around 70% concerns the transplant of kidneys. The access of patients to organ transplant, however, varies according to national situations, and is partly determined by the cost of health care, the level of technical capacity and, most importantly, the availability of organs,” he said.

Anwar Husnoo said it is estimated that around 10% of the population of Mauritius has chronic kidney disease.

He said Mauritius has a high prevalence of diabetes (22.5%), pre-diabetes (19%), hypertension (28.4%), which are all major causes of chronic kidney disease. In addition, it is estimated that around 40% of diabetics in Mauritius may at some time develop chronic kidney disease. Many of these patients will reach end stage of renal disease and will need either dialysis or renal transplantation eventually.

There are at present around 1,330 patients on dialysis in the island.

The Minister said that a transplanted patient has a better quality of life, more energy, a less restricted diet and he can lead a normal working life and has fewer complications than those who remain on dialysis.

“The life expectancy of a transplanted patient is definitely longer than a patient on dialysis and the quality of life as well,” he said.

According to him, the legislation provides that the deceased person shall be presumed to be a donor, but the Board can only authorise removal of tissues from the deceased only after consultation with the family members of the deceased, and if there is no objection by the family members to the removal and donation of the tissue.

He reassured the population that no removal or transplant of any tissues will be permitted if the Board has not consulted the family members and if there is an objection raised by the family members.

The Minister said that the removal of a tissue from a dead person’s body is neither immoral nor does it impede on any religious belief, but instead such a generous act can save a person’s life, gives a sense of purpose to the recipient’s life and that of his family.

He insisted that the legislation provides for an appropriate safeguard to prevent any abuse of the system.

The Minister said that the new legislation ensures that, if an authorised specialist has reason to believe that the transplant is subject of a commercial transaction, then that specialist shall not engage and shall not assist in the transplant procedure.

“The slightest doubt he has, he must not take part in the transplant operation,” the Minister said.
-0- PANA NA/MA 21May2018

21 may 2018 11:54:06

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