KARACHI   -   The ethical aspects of deceased organ donation and the practical challenges of setting up deceased donor programs will come up for indepth discussion during a two day international conference, “Ethical Deceased Organ and Tissue Donation and the Role of Transplant Coordinators,” to open here on Monday.

The event is being jointly organized by SIUT’s Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).  Organizers highlighting relevance of the moot here on Sunday said transplantation of organs from deceased donors gives a new lease of life to those who reach the end stages of organ failure and do not have living relatives who may match as donors.

It was mentioned that according to rough estimates currently, over 50,000 patients die every year in Pakistan due to the non-availability of organs for transplantation. 

It is essential therefore, to discuss the importance of developing deceased donor programs in the country, identify challenges in their implementation, and to develop guidelines to ensure that this is done ethically, they said. CBEC itself was said to be one of 14 WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics in the world, and the only institution in the EMRO region dedicated primarily to bioethics research and education. The moot will begin with an open plenary session followed by a workshop on the following day for 33 registered participants representing institutions from Karachi, Gambat, Lahore and Islamabad, and the Lebanese National Bioethics Committee.

The two day event will place special emphasis on the training of Transplant Coordinators who play a vital role in the different stages of deceased organ donation, from the declaration of brain death to post donation processes. 

Invited speakers in the plenary session will include Dr. Jose Nunez, Advisor, Medical Products of Human Origin from WHO, Geneva, Dr Valerie Luyckx of the University of Zurich, Dr. Alicia Blanco from Spain, and other speakers from Iran, Saudi Arabia and SIUT and CBEC faculty.  Important topics be debated upon and raised during panel discussion were said to include WHO guidelines for organ donation, understanding of brain death, and the challenges confronted in developing deceased donation programs in countries like Pakistan, India, Iran and the Middle East region.