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Medical Council Wants Children Allowed To Donate Organs

The Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council has asked Parliament to ensure that children in Uganda are allowed to donate their organs, tissue and cells especially to their siblings in order to give other children meaningful life, instead of putting a total ban on children donating organs.
The proposal was made by Joel Okullo, Chairman Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council while appearing before Parliament’s Health Committee during the consideration of the Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill 2021.
Clause 72 of the bill seeks to prohibit donation from living children, a position Okullo said the medical council associates itself with, but there shouldn’t be a total ban especially under circumstances that might warrant donation by children such as conjoined and identical twins where one twin should be allowed to donate to the other based on sound medical assessment.
“In that bill, it is suggesting that children should not be donors that could exclude an important group of people who could be donors say for example twins who have an almost identified donors they should be allowed to donate yet this clause restricts us, donation from children should be allowed,” said Okullo.
He urged the Committee to ensure that a provision in clause 72 should put a provision for such scenarios.
We also recommend that since a child is legally incapable of giving consent, the provision in clause 73 should be deleted from the bill to preserve the innocence of children whether dead or alive,” said Okullo.
The proposal was backed by Charles Ayume, Chairperson Health Committee saying there is need for a decision to be made on whether parents and guardians can give consent of the kids who have died yet Uganda is already battling with the vice of human sacrifice and also backed the proposal to allow children to be allowed to donate arguing that science has proved their organs are best suited for their siblings.
“The question is, do we go ahead and allow parents to give consent to children who have died yet we are already having the issue of which doctors who are playing around with kidnapping children. So I am in agreement that that part should be expunged for now because we are really expecting challenges around there,” said Ayume.
The Medical Council is also opposed to the proposal in clause 7 of Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill 2021 to create another Council to oversee organ donation, saying approving such a proposal would lead to duplication of roles because the donation and transplant are components of medical care and practice and should be subject to general supervision of the Medical Council as by law established.
Okullo added that all medical practitioners are registered, licensed, monitored and disciplined by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioner’s Council, no matter their specialty or scope of practice and a new Organ Council would undermine, duplicate and or conflict with the mandate of the Medical Council and there is need to harmonise the two councils in order to maximize the full effect of the Bill.
Okullo said, “Medical Council can only exercise disciplinary powers over practitioners registered under it and will have no other power under the Uganda Organ Donation and Transplant Act, as no other area of collaboration is specified in the bill. Medical Council has no say in certifying a practitioner who is to be involved in organ, tissue and cell transplant activities under the Act. Medical Council has no control over transplant centers and Human Organ Tissue and Cell Banks.”
Emmanuel Otala (West Budama South) supported the Medical Council arguing that by introducing another council, Government would be duplicating the role of Uganda medical council, and proposed to have the Uganda Human Organ to be a board within the Medical and Dental Council but it should have the expertise because we are dealing with highly specialized area of medicine.
He said, “This ties well with what is already existing because the medical board is there as a specialized board in form of referral of people abroad. This board should be answerable to the medical council because it is the body that oversees the general practice of medicine in the country.”
The Medical Council also wants Parliament to ensure there is a timeline within which consent of a donor can be withdrawn, not leave it open for anyone to withdraw consent at will.

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