Federal Government Vows Stricter Measures Against Illegal Kidney Harvesting

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Development, Prof. Ali Pate, has assured that a decisive action will be taken to combat criminal activities in health practices.

Responding to a newspaper investigation, titled “Inside Abuja’s Kidney ‘Market’,” Pate on his X page condemned the depravity and criminality revealed in the report.

Acknowledging the pain of victims, Pate cited the NHA (2014) sections 51-56, which prohibit such illegality, emphasising the need for stringent enforcement.

The minister highlighted government’s commitment to improving regulations, as evidenced by the recent inauguration of the Tertiary Hospitals Care Standards Committee.

Meanwhile, in a statement, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Dr Christopher Otabor, Chief Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon of Alliance Hospital, refuted allegations against his facility, emphasising adherence to legal requirements for kidney transplants.

According to him, Alliance Hospital, in response to the huge burden of kidney failure in the country and the need to develop a world class kidney transplant centre to prolong the lives of kidney failure patients, decided to establish a kidney transplant unit in 2017.

Otabor said that the programme had been running successfully till date with a huge success story in its trail.

He said that as a rule, kidney recipients source for their donors and present them to the hospital for screening for compatibility and fitness for donation.

“After the screening, we proceed to ensure they meet the legal requirements which include that the donor must be 18 years or above.

“Donor must sign consent in the presence of two adult witnesses. Donor is expected to swear to an affidavit, stating his age and affirming that the decision to donate is by free will and there is no compulsion or financial inducement.

“The relationship of the donor to the recipient must be explained,” he said.

He acknowledged that the law governing organ transplant in the country as at now was scanty and limited in depth.

“It only requires the donor to be above 18 years of age and the fact that there is no financial inducement for the donation.

“We have followed the protocol strictly for all the kidney transplant cases done by the hospital,” he said.

Otabor called for responsible journalism and hinted at potential legal action against the newspaper in question for what he deemed a defamatory publication.

NAN recalled that in the wake of the investigation into illegal kidney trade, questions arose about the inaction of medical associations and regulatory bodies.

Meanwhile, experts and Nigerians have called for emphasis on collaboration and responsible reporting to address the issue collectively.