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Obasanjo advocates law to curb organ trafficking

The need for a law that will help to check organ harvesting and trafficking in the country has been stressed.

 

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President emphasized the need on Tuesday at the 36th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the National Association of Nephrology held at the main Auditorium of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.

In a statement from his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former president also demanded legislative support in terms of a new bill to support people with kidney disease.

He was quoted to have said, “There is an urgent need for legislative support in terms of a new bill to support affected persons.

“Organ trafficking is also an emerging issue in our environment, and I want to plead with agencies concerned to help in examining relevant laws, especially with regards to cadaveric donations taking cognisance of our peculiar cultural and societal idiosyncrasies and also laws guiding organs to be harvested from living donors.”

Obasanjo commended the association for its work on advocacy, screening, enlightenment, and periodic collaborations with a view to reducing the prevalence of the disease, especially among youth and children.

The former President said “From available reports, 1 out of 7, that is, about 15% of adult Nigerians have kidney failure which cannot be reversed and is life-threatening if left untreated.

“I have also been informed that the prevalence of kidney failure in Africa is higher than anywhere else in the world as an average African is 4 times more likely to develop kidney problems than a Caucasian or Mediterranean race.

He listed causes of kidney failure to include hypertension, diabetes, kidney infections, genetics, habitual consumption of undefined herbal medications, and chronic analgesic abuse among others.

“I wish to acknowledge the role of NHIS in providing limited support for only six dialysis sessions, but I want to suggest a need to consider increasing the carrying capacity substantially as obtained in South Africa and Sudan,” he said.

To address the burden and challenges in the management of kidney disease, Obasanjo advocated for increased awareness, improved health infrastructure, and early detection of the disease among others.

The Scientific Conference was themed: “Optimising Dialysis Therapy to Prolong Survival”.

Recall, the United Kingdom court sentenced former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Ike Ekweremadu, to nine years and eight months in prison for an organ trafficking plot.

The court also sentenced his wife, Beatrice, to four years six months while the medical doctor who acted as a ‘middleman’ in the plot, Dr Obinna Obeta, was sentenced to 10 years and his medical licence was also suspended.

The jury ruled they criminally conspired to bring a 21-year-old Lagos Street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.

The young man was said to have been falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade doctors to carry out an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

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