Punjab Government to allow ‘swap transplant’ to stop organ trafficking

Calling it a revolutionary step, the medical community believes this will prove to be a game-changer in Pakistan's fight against illegal organ transplant activities.

The Punjab government has approved the swap transplant plan. The initiative is Pakistan’s first such scheme to allow patients to access the organs from unrelated donors, outside of blood relatives, to end-organ trafficking.

The Punjab Human Organ Transplan­tation Authority (P-HOTA) move has brought the country on the list of a few countries providing this facility in organ transplantation.

Under this facility, asserted at a meeting chaired by the Punjab Health Minister, Prof Dr. Yasmin Rashid, an unrelated donor can now donate their organ to a recipient whose family member will, in return, donate one organ to another patient.

Calling it a revolutionary step, the medical community believes this will prove to be a game-changer in Pakistan’s fight against illegal organ transplant activities across the Punjab province. This move may also cut the number of patients who have to wait for years to arrange donors.

Approval of swap transplants is a milestone in the organ transplant history of Pakistan. It will enhance the organ availability for transplantation. It will help patients suffering from chronic liver and kidney conditions who don’t have a compatible donor in their families.

Professor Asad Aslam, the P-HOTA Director-General, sounded confident that the deceased organ transplantation would also be made operational soon in Punjab. “The meeting has stressed to complete the procedural formalities to operationalize deceased organ donation and transplantation in Punjab,” he said.

He said a 24-hour dedicated helpline would provide authentic information to the people seeking to avail of transplant legally.

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