Consumerist: Home Minister, IGP, Health Minister & Foreign Minister To Be Briefed! Nigerian Herald Told – Get Your Facts Right – Malaysia Does Not Do Illegal Kidney Or Other Transplants!

Dato Jacob George

Consumerist: IGP, Health Minister & Foreign Minister To Be Briefed! Nigerian Herald Told – Get Your Facts Right – Malaysia Does Not Do Illegal Kidney Or Other Transplants!

The Herald

If you are not aware, ask and we will update you, do not smear my country Malaysia with lies and more lies and irresponsible journalism!

First, your allegation that Nigerians are coming to Malaysia to sell their kidneys for a fee and that clandestine underground operations are been done to harvest the said organs is a blatant lie!

Second, if you did not know – know this – Malaysia is in the fore front of the campaign against Organ Tourism and most importantly, this writer and his highly qualified medical professionals friends associated with him are making sure, it remains so!

Thirdly, this kind of stupid allegation, which first gained notoriety had been dealt with when it came out of Pakistan, with police reports made after a team of practitioners and I made police reports and briefed former IGP Ismail, two years ago.

The Malaysian Police have investigated and found those reports to be blatantly lies!

I notice it is now coming back this time from Nigeria!

Fourthly, I have already briefed the Health Minister several years ago and I am aware there are medical protocols already in place in Malaysia to prevent any such happening and as such this article appearing in the Herald in Nigeria is the most foul and irresponsible form of journalism!

I though Malaysian journalism is bad and notorious – this is pretty dark and I am not being racist here!

I will now brief present the Home Minister, IGP, the Minister of Health, Malaysia, Foreign Minister that a diplomatic protest can be made at the Nigerian Embassy so that this form of irresponsible articles are not allowed to tarnish the good name of Malaysia and tar our physicians in bad light!

Just to show how notorious and blatantly foul that article is I upload the said article herewith for readers!

You owe us Malaysians – an apology Nigeria!

Organ Trafficking: How Some Nigerians Sell Their Kidneys For N15 mln In Malaysia
By Health Editor on July 7, 2013

The kidney donation business has become a thriving one.

There have been reports in the media about some Nigerians who travel to Malaysia through ‘kidney salesmen/agents’ to help them sell one of their kidneys.

SUNDAY PUNCH encountered one of such agents who claimed the price could be up to N15m.

“We pay for their travelling expenses and accommodation in Malaysia and India. The only thing that willing donors pay for is their passport,” said the agent, adding that it was a legitimate business.

“It is just based on trust; I can’t say anything more than that. I can only assure you that we are legitimate. I’ve done it for over 10 people already this year, and till today, they have not had any cause for alarm. This kind of deal is done underground and restricted, so they cannot say it in the open; we get most of their businesses from referrals,” he said.

The agent who pleaded anonymity added that the sellers are mostly young people who are less than 40 years old.

“We can get it from anybody as far as he or she doesn’t have a history of smoking or alcohol problems. We also verify the person’s health status before they travel out by conducting medical tests on them,” he explained. He also claimed that agents also accompany the person to the destination (Malaysia or India) and they are present during the whole operation ‘to ensure there are no issues at all.’

However, Dr. Bamgboye expressed worry over the increase in the number of Nigerians going abroad to sell their body organs.

“The increasing trend where Nigerians donate an organ for a fee has been of some concern to us in the Nigerian Association of Nephrologists,” noted Dr. Bamgboye, who is also its chairman.

He said Pakistan and the Philippines used to be the popular destinations for Nigerians. Some years back, in these countries, one could find a kidney donor for as low as $500 (N75,000)

“But nobody goes to Pakistan now because it’s like a war zone,” he explained.

In 2008, the International Society of Nephrology and the Transplantation Society came together in Istanbul, Turkey, at a summit organised by the World Health Organisation on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. It produced the Istanbul Declaration, a framework to govern organ donation and transplantation activities around the world.

The Declaration called on the medical community, especially transplant surgeons and nephrologists, to join the WHO to put pressure on health ministries in various countries with a transplantation program to eliminate organ trafficking and transplant tourism.

“The legacy of transplantation is threatened by organ trafficking and transplant tourism. The Istanbul Declaration aims to combat these activities and preserve the nobility of organ donation.

The success of transplantation as a life-saving treatment does not require, nor justify victimising the world’s poor as a source of organs for the rich,” noted the Steering Committee of the Istanbul Summit.

Dr. Bamgboye said he was one of the two Nigerians who represented the country at the summit.

“The Declaration forbids commercial kidney transplantation, transplant tourism, or organ donation for a fee. This is now recognised worldwide as something that should not be done by anybody and Nigerian doctors, being part of that declaration, have been trying to make rules in Nigeria and ensure that the Senate and House of Representatives join the rest of the world to promulgate that act. Most countries have enacted it,” he noted.

Beyond commercial kidney transplantation, there is the need for the country to improve its health care system and health insurance for the scheme to handle cases such as these, noted Dr. Olugbenga Awobusuyi, a consultant nephrologist and kidney specialist.

“There are many countries which are not as rich as Nigeria, but their health care system is better than what we have in Nigeria because the ruling class and those who are responsible for health issues have actually taken the right decisions to enable people benefit from quality health care system,” Awobusuyi said.

According to statistics, there are currently 36.8 million Nigerians (23 per cent of the total population) suffering from different forms of kidney disorder while an estimated 15,000 new patients are diagnosed every year.

Like 19-year-old Bayo Idowu, an accounting student of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State, who has been diagnosed with a renal problem, although his kidneys are said to be functioning properly, his father said the doctors at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital diagnosed that Bayo’s kidney was leaking protein to his urine.

“It started in 2011. This is the fifth time he is being admitted to the hospital for treatment,” he said.

“I cannot pass out urine very well because all my bladders are blocked. Sometimes this condition lasts for three weeks or three days, and then parts of my body are swollen. I missed four papers during the last examination in school. Our semester examination is supposed to begin next week but I was told that lecturers are going on strike.” said Bayo, with difficulty, when our correspondent met him at LASUTH.

“Although the doctors told me there was no kidney failure, they said it has an infection and have advised that Bayo undergo a biopsy test to ascertain how the infection has damaged the kidney.

Since it started, I have spent more than N1 million for tests, scans and treatments at different hospitals. It has affected my business adversely. The biopsy would cost N80,000 and I don’t have any money again,” said the father, who sells motor spare parts in Lagos. He called on good-hearted Nigerians to help his son.

“I don’t want to lose my boy. I also want him to continue his academics. I need assistance from Nigerians,” he pleaded.

Cases like Bayo’s may be the reason why Dr. Bamgboye said that Nigerian patients are faced with many challenges in terms of treatment.

The rise in the number of Nigerians with some forms of kidney disorder may be due to the growing cases of hypertension and diabetes in the country, which are not managed properly, noted Dr. Awobusuyi.

“Common causes are hypertension and diabetes. Kidney failure can also result if chronic infections which cause chronic glomerulonephritis, and complicated infections like Hepatitis A and B, HIV/AIDS and even malaria, are not managed properly. The usage of some medical drugs, even native medications and herbs, have been known to cause kidney disease, a common one is gentamycin antibiotics, (in large doses),” he explained, adding that kidney diseases can affect anyone, no matter the age.

There are currently seven hospitals in the country equipped for kidney transplant. They include St. Nicholas, Lagos; University of Ife Teaching Hospital; Bayero University Teaching Hospital, Kano; University College Teaching Hospital, Ibadan. Other centres are in Ilorin, Maiduguri and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, which carried out their first kidney transplants last year.

According to Dr. Bamgboye, St. Nicholas carried out the first kidney transplant in Nigeria in 2000 and since then it has done 125 successful transplants.

Due to the lack of health centres with quality facilities for kidney transplantation and treatment in the country, many now travel abroad to have it done.

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