The issue of donating organs is yet to sit well with Kenyans who are deeply buried in traditional beliefs that are unfounded. Yet if they snapped out of that backward mentality or crawled out of their cultural cacoons, many lives could be saved.
Unlike developed countries, the process of organ donation has not been much to the public knowledge in the country, explaining the information gap that directly affects the decision of individuals willing to donate organs.
Following a new law allowing transplants from the dead, The Health ministry has established a National Blood Transfusion Services and Human Organs Transplantation department in the implementation of the Health Act 2017 to guide people on the donation of their body organs for research and other persons once they die. The department will come up with a regulatory framework that would govern how organs can be transplanted in Kenya.
“This will change how things are done in as far as transplants are concerned. This law makes it clear on the harvesting of organs and even make it possible for people to consent to have their organs donated after they are dead,” said Dr John Ngigi, the head of Kenyatta National Hospital’s Renal Unit in Nairobi.
According to the new law, organs donation must be done willingly and those in breach face a fine not exceeding Sh10 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both. The donated organs will then be used in research or advancement of health sciences or healing purposes, including the use of tissue in any living person and training of students in medical learning institutions.
In the event someone passed on without leaving behind a will, their consent can be given by a spouse, elder child, parent, guardian elder brother or sister in the event the person died without leaving a will. If the relatives of a deceased person cannot be traced and no will is left behind, the Health Cabinet Secretary has the authority to donate the body or its parts.