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‘Selling organs no way out of poverty’

By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:56:00 10/19/2008

Filed Under: Health, People

MANILA, Philippines?Those who sold their kidneys to people in need of the organ in hopes of making some money to alleviate their poverty have learned too late that the illegal yet rampant practice offers them no better life, said Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral on Friday.

Cabral said that quite a number of poor kidney ?donors? ended up with health complications, aside from finding themselves still in financial straits.

"The donors do not show any social or economic improvement from the sale of their organs; they remain as poor as before only this time, unhealthier,? said Cabral in a speech in a forum on the proposed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for Organ Trafficking held in Manila.

The forum was organized by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking co-chaired by the Department of Justice and Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Cabral, a medical doctor, slammed organ trafficking, likening it to prostitution?if not ?much worse"?where the victims are ?stripped of their dignity as human beings.?

?Sellers (victims) are faced with long term health consequences that ultimately serve to pull them deeper into the clutches of poverty,? Cabral said.

Address gaps in law

While Republic Act No. 9208, the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, prohibits the recruitment or abduction of people for the purpose of selling their organs, Cabral said that an IRR specifically dealing with organ trafficking would ?address the apparent gaps in the law and existing policies on the ?donation? of organs by a living non-related donor.?

The proposed IRR for organ trafficking shall be guided by the rules of the 1991 World Health Organization Guiding Principles on Human Organ Transplantation, the DSWD said in a statement.

Transplant rules

The rules are: Organs for transplantation should be removed preferably from the bodies of deceased persons; adult living persons may donate organs but they should be genetically related to recipients; The human body cannot be the subject of commercial transactions; and giving or receiving payment for organs should be prohibited.

Donations

The DSWD said the proposed IRR ?emphasizes that the selling or buying of human organs is strictly prohibited? but the right of others to transplantation of ?voluntarily donated human organs for therapeutic purposes shall not be hampered.?

The proposed IRR also states that the Department of Health should develop a comprehensive program for long term monitoring of donors after donation, and financial support for the further healthcare of donors who suffer any medical problems after donation, the DSWD said.



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