The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, with the support of the Ministry of Health, will soon propose a Bill for a legal framework for kidney donation in the country.
The Bill is being spearheaded by the Ethical and Independent Assessors Committee that supervised the kidney transplant for three Ghanaians at the hospital recently.
Rev. Prof. Andrews Seth Ayettey, head of the committee, told the 'Times' that the new bill would make it possible for people to freely donate their kidneys for transplant and also create the legal regime for the performance of such medical activities.
“The current Anatomy Act has been in existence since the establishment of the Medical School, but it is not comprehensive; it only allows people to donate certain parts of their body for medical research purposes”, he said.
The object of the new Bill would be to streamline the ethical issues involved in kidney donation and transplant, and prepare the donors psychologically for the operations.
Other objectives of the Bill include the protection of donors and recipients from abuses such as selling of kidneys, coercion and kidney thefts.
“For instance”, he said, “there have been instances where people are drugged and after waking up, realise that their kidneys are gone”.
On the recent transplant, Prof. Ayettey said the team had to rely on the England and Wales Kidney Transplant Law, which is an international law, to enable it to perform the operation.
Prof. Ayettey indicated that the underlying factor for kidney donation “is that it must be free of charge,” and advocated public education to create awareness to curb kidney-related problems among the populace.
Prof. Ayettey urged people to seek early treatment, saying “kidney problems can be treated if detected early.”
He cited acute renal failures (urine retention) and high blood pressure as some of symptoms of kidney failure.