Islamabad: Four days before his 55th
birthday, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has signed up to
donate his organs after death.
Zardari, who turned 55 yesterday, signed an organ
donor card on July 22 at a brief ceremony at Bilawal House,
Karachi, to bequeath his organs upon his death, the World
Health Organisation said.
This he did, as a personal support for a new national
organ transplantation service in the country which will be
based on donations from deceased donors and at the same time
prohibit commercial transplantation and outlaws the organ
trade, the WHO said.
Zardari is the first Pakistani president to donate his
body organs and he signed the organ donation form months after
signing a landmark bill to regulate transplant of human organs
in the country.
"Pakistan has taken an important step in passing this
new law to regulate organ transplantation, and is setting an
excellent example to other countries," Dr Hussein A Gezairy,
WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean said.
Kidney transplantation took off in Pakistan in the
late 1980s. The majority of kidneys were donated by family
members but by the late 1990s, maximum kidneys were bought
from individuals in villages located around major cities.
This led to donations against incentives and according
to a WHO release, in the year 2005 alone, 1500 commercial
transplantations were conducted openly in Pakistan.
However, most of those who sold their kidney said that
their health had suffered as a result, citing general overall
weakness and an inability to work long hours.
WHO estimates suggest that less than one tenth of
estimated global needs in organ transplantation are currently
met in the whole world.
This results in offers of incentives for donation,
profiteering and exploitation of the disadvantaged.