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Last year 5,000 people were declared brain dead in the country but only 808 vital organs were donated by their families.
Last year 5,000 people were declared brain dead in the country but only 808 vital organs were donated by their families.

Organ Transplant Policy in Focus

The law prohibiting organ transplants to non-Iranians was passed in August 2014 since a large number of local applicants are awaiting their turn for donor organs, and naturally, have priority

Organ Transplant Policy in Focus

The death of a 12-year old Afghan girl Latifeh who was hospitalized at the Namazi Hospital in Shiraz and lost her life due to liver failure on August 19, has brought into focus Iran’s law on organ transplant.
The law bans foreign nationals from receiving organ transplant in the country.
“The law that prohibits organ transplants to non-Iranians was passed two years ago in August 2014 because a large number of local applicants are awaiting their turn for donor organs and no doubt, have priority,” said Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi on Tuesday, ICANA reported.
Rights of many Iranians had been infringed before the law was passed, as many patients from Azerbaijan, Russia, Kuwait, Pakistan, India and the Persian Gulf Arab states used to travel to Iran to get organs by paying for it.
Annually, an estimated 3,000 Iranians lose their lives waiting for a matching organ to become available.
“We cannot sell our people’s organs to foreign nationals when our own people are in dire need,” Hashemi said, adding “Several countries, including almost all in Europe, restrict organ transplantation to foreign residents.”
“Of course, the ministry can make an exception in some cases. In each province doctors are appointed to decide on special cases (like Latifeh) on my behalf. At the Shiraz hospital, Dr Seyed Ali Malek Hosseini and Dr Talebian, board members of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, are responsible for making decisions in special cases.”
“Both the doctors were aware of Latifeh’s liver condition which was in advanced stages and untreatable,” he said.
Latifeh was suffering from Wilson’s disease, a rare inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and other vital organs.
The minister said in the past year that ended in March, 10 organ transplant surgeries were performed on Afghan nationals in which both the donor and receiver were Afghans.

 Medical Support for Afghanistan
Pointing to Iran’s medical support for Afghanistan, Hashmei said 17 Afghan physicians, nurses and laboratory experts in two Afghan hospitals, namely Kabul’s Loghman Hakim and Khatam-ol-Nabeein, received three months of training in kidney transplants from specialists of the Imam Reza Hospital in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province.
Also an 11-member Iranian medical team comprising specialists, nurses, operation room experts and laboratory technicians from the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences performed the first successful kidney transplant in Afghanistan in May.
Additionally, the Health Ministry is liaising with Tehran University of Medical Sciences to sign a memorandum of understanding to train surgeons from Afghanistan in liver transplant, according to deputy health minister Dr. Iraj Harirchi.

 Organ Donation in Iran
Last year 5,000 people were declared brain dead in the country but only 808 vital organs including kidney, liver, and heart were donated by their families.
Earlier, deputy head of the ministry’s Organ Donation and Transplantation Center Katayoun Najafizadeh said only 3% of Iranians have signed up for organ donation.
However, it is not legally binding and all transplant procedures are done only with the consent of the family.
In Iran, a person is declared brain dead after being certified by a five-member panel, of whom four are appointed by the Health Ministry and one by the judiciary.

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