Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 February 2020

New organ transplant centre to open in Sharjah will help spread 'donation culture'

The new facility will be based at the emirate's Al Qassimi Hospital

A new organ transplant centre will operate out of Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah. Courtesy: Getty Images  
A new organ transplant centre will operate out of Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah. Courtesy: Getty Images  

A new organ transplant centre is to be launched in Sharjah, health officials have confirmed.

The facility, based at the emirate's Al Qassimi Hospital, will be operated in partnership with Mohammed Bin Rashid University Of Medicine and Health Sciences in Dubai.

The announcement was made by the Ministry of Health and Prevention at the Arab Health Conference on Tuesday.

“It will achieve the UAE’s aspiration of becoming a model in the field of organ and human tissue transplantation,” said Dr Yousuf Al-Serkal, assistant undersecretary for the hospitals sector at the ministry.

“The centre will enhance medical tourism in the country, it will speed up the establishing of an organ national bank and will help spread the culture of organ donation.”

Performing transplants with the organs of deceased donors was legalised in the UAE in 1993.

An issue over the legal definition of death, however, meant transplants were restricted to organs taken from living donors and usually involved kidney operations.

A breakthrough came in March, 2018 when authorities agreed to a legislation framework that allowed transplants from deceased donors.

In a study conducted in 2018, nearly 70 per cent of UAE residents said they would donate an organ in the event of their death.

Less than a third of those polled were against giving an organ, researchers found.

The findings were significantly higher than in other countries in the region such as Qatar (37 per cent) Iran (47 per cent) and Pakistan (59 per cent) and on a par with attitudes found in countries with long-established donor programmes.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi carried out a record 35 successful transplants in 2018, up from just five the previous year.

At an event held to mark the progress, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance, applauded the generosity of donors and congratulated the hospital’s staff.

He said providing the gift of life to others represented the height of humanity, compassion and benevolence.

“Donors of organs are ­paragons of selflessness in a world too often awash in selfish, self-serving actions,” Sheikh Nahyan said.

“While we celebrate the continuation of life made possible by the generosity of donors, we also mourn the loss of those donors who have passed from this life.”

According to the UAE government, organ transplant procedures are already carried out at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Mediclinic Dubai and Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital.

Updated: January 28, 2020 07:57 PM

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