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Urologist explains the myth behind organ transplants, donation in Cameroon

Buea(National Times)- Dr Ndeasor Solomon, a Urologist Surgeon in Cameroon, says pancreas transplant and organ donation are still a novelty in the country.

According to him, the only organ donation carried out in Cameroon is skin graft. He said despite the over 1,600 hospitals in the country, none of these hospitals carry out pancreas transplant apart from skin transplant, which he said, is the easiest and less expensive.

The Urologist said even though skin transplant appears very easy, there are a series of legal and medical procedures which must be fulfilled before an organ can be donated.

“Organ donation, which is the act of giving an organ to someone who needs it, has two types of donors; the donor can either be alive or dead. Organs like kidney, liver, lungs can be donated when a donor is alive, while organs like the heart and the brain can only be donated when a donor is dead,” he said.

In Cameroon, before an organ is term fit for donation, it goes through a series of medical screening. The organ is also screened for compatibility in the recipient.  All this is done under the direct supervision of the doctor. These preliminary health investigations are carried out to ensure that the transplant will be successful, living both parties healthy and alive.”

The Medic said when all the legal procedures have been respected, then the Surgeon can begin the transplanting process. He further averred that before commencing the transplanting process, the donor and the recipient are advised by the doctor on the possible outcomes. “If the two parties concern agreed to go ahead, a consent form is given to them to be filled and signed.

Since certain organ transplants like kidney, heart and liver are not carried out in Cameroon, the doctors admitted that it becomes very expensive for such transplants to be done out of the country, especially in countries like America, India and Europe.

“But with the help of some foundations like the IYA Foundation, patients suffering from kidney failure are sent abroad for a transplant. Such initiatives are fully funded by the Foundation. This has greatly curbed the number of patients who die from cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

On the legal procedure required of an individual who wants to donate his or her organ, Barrister Victor Ngando, said the person must be above 18 years of age. “There are a series of legal documents which the donor must sign while he or she is still alive, stipulating that his organs should be donated when he or she is dead.  For donors who donate their organs while they are still alive, they must do so in a licensed hospital and the consent of both the donor and recipient should be sought before any transplant is carried out. The violation of this procedure renders the entire process unconstitutional, criminal and an offense to international laws.”

According to the Legal Counsel, the Constitution of the Republic of Cameroon, especially in its preambles guarantees the right to dignity of all human beings.

“So, it’s against the law to infringe on an individual’s rights without his consent. This is tantamount to between 10 to 20 years imprisonment.”

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