MEA urged to appoint nodal officer to regulate organ transplant requests from foreigners
I seek your cooperation and support in establishing systems for monitoring of transplantation of foreigners with the objective to prevent any possible commercial dealings in organ or tissue transplantation, Chandra added.
The Union Health Ministry has written to the Ministry of External Affairs to identify a nodal officer for coordinating organ donations and transplants undertaken by foreigners to prevent any possible commercial dealings in the process.
In a letter to Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra noted that many foreign nationals are coming to India for various types of organ transplantations.
They could be a prospective recipient or donor of organs and may be visiting on a medical or attendant visa, he said.
A ''recent media report has highlighted that in some such cases, the veracity of the documents to establish relationship between the donor and the recipient, their identity documents, proof of residence etc. cannot be established confidently and the same may not be genuine,'' Chandra said in the letter dated January 30.
He mentioned the provisions specifically for foreigners under the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissue Act (THOTA) 1994 and the Rules.
Under section 9(1A), no human organ or tissue or both removed from the body of a donor before his death shall be transplanted into a recipient unless the donor is a near relative of the recipient.
''Where the donor or the recipient being near relative is a foreign national, prior approval of the authorisation committee shall be required before removing or transplanting human organ or tissue or both: Provided that the authorisation committee shall not approve such removal or transplantation if the recipient is a foreign national and the donor is an Indian national unless they are near relatives,'' he stated in the letter.
Chandra also highlighted Rule 20 according to which when the proposed donor or the recipient are foreigners, a senior embassy official of the country of origin has to certify the relationship between the donor and the recipient as per form 21 and in case a country does not have an Embassy in India, the certificate of relationship, in the same format, shall be issued by the government of that country.
The authorisation committee shall also examine the cases of all Indian donors consenting to donate organs to a foreign national (who is a near relative), including a foreign national of Indian origin, with greater caution and such cases should be considered rarely on case-to-case basis. Section 19 of the THOTA 1994 has provisions of punishment for commercial dealings in organs and no payment in money or money's worth can be made or promised or offered for donation of organs.
He urged that information should be disseminated to all embassies/missions of foreign countries located in India and also to the government concerned in case the embassy/mission is not existing in India.
''It is also requested that a nodal officer may be identified by the Ministry of External Affairs for coordinating the organ donation and transplantation of foreigners and his details may be shared with the Dr Anil Kumar, Director NOTTO. ''I seek your cooperation and support in establishing systems for monitoring of transplantation of foreigners with the objective to prevent any possible commercial dealing(s) in organ or tissue transplantation,'' Chandra added.
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