By Kayla Santos
Illegal organ trade across various countries generates profits of about 600 million to 1.2 billion US dollars a year according to research conducted by Global Financial Integrity. In recent years, illegal trading has increased significantly, an estimated five per cent of organ recipients in 2005 received organs commercially. Illegal organ trade has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a process in which organs are removed and transplanted in exchange for monetary compensation.
Focus on organ trade has been shifted on Tanzania recently in the wake of a comment made by the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Rashid, stating that people were free to sell their kidneys since there was no policy guiding transplants in the country and no one would interfere where the donor was willing. According to the Ministry’s spokesperson, Mr. Nsachris Mwamwaja, the comment was taken out of context due to the fact that there are actually no transplant services provided in the country and therefore no policies regulating it. Blood donations are the only services supported and accepted by health facilities within the country and these are cost-free. Additionally, it was noted that South Africa had implemented the Human Tissue Act of 1983, which disallows the commercial trade of human body parts including any type of tissues, bones, organs and bodily fluids, such as blood. Although illegal, organ trade for compensation will continue to rise as long as the demand is in place.
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