The Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill, 2021 which seeks to regulate organ and tissue donation and transplant in Uganda has been tabled for first reading.
The bill that seeks to establish a legal framework for the regulation of organ, cell and tissue donation and transplantation was tabled by the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, on Tuesday, 05 July 2022 during plenary.
The proposal aims at protecting the dignity and identity of persons and guarantees, without discrimination, respect for their integrity and other rights and fundamental freedoms concerning the donation and transplantation of organs, tissue and cells of human origin.
Although human organ and tissue transplant and donation is an important area of health care, Uganda does not have a law to regulate this. The bill also comes at the backdrop of illicit trade in the trafficking of human organs, cells and tissue.
The bill also seeks to establish a Uganda Organ and Transplant Council that will oversee and regulate organ, cell and tissue donation and transplantation in the country.
It also designates Mulago National Referral Hospital as the pioneering transplant centre; prescribes the criteria to be followed in an organ transplant, establishes standards for storage for harvested organs, and establishes an organ and tissue database and reporting requirements among others.
The bill will also prescribe penalties and offenses related to issues of organ transplant and donation.
The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, in her preamble before the presentation of the bill said that the issue of organ donation has been a topical issue in the country for a while and the bill is here to cure that.
“More recently, we had debates on this issue of organ donation and we need a legal document to that effect for it to be effective and to avoid other implications. Having a legal regime will help this country,” Among said.
According to the health minister, the bill will also prescribe appropriate consent to be given by donors and establish and maintain a national waiting list for a potential organ, tissue and cell donors and recipients, drawn from designated transplant centres and other hospitals and health centres.
The Speaker referred the bill to the Committee on Health for scrutiny and report back within 45 days.