Parliament has passed the Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill 2022 setting tough penalties for dealing in human organs for commercial purposes.
The Uganda Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill, 2022 seeks to establish a legal framework for organ, cell and tissue transplant in Uganda. The Bill also sought to regulate the conduct of donation and transplant activities in the country.
In an attempt to prevent vices associated with human organ donation and transplantation, Parliament approved a life sentence for persons who deal in human organs and tissue for commercial purposes. It also prescribes life imprisonment with no option to pay one’s way out for child organ traffickers.
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The Bill establishes the Uganda Organ and Transplant Council to oversee and regulate organ and cell donation and transplantation in Uganda.
The Committee on Health, which earlier scrutinized the Bill, listening to views from various stakeholders recommended that child organ donation only be done in exceptional circumstances approved by the Council with the consent of a parent or guardian.
“The provisions include stem cell therapy for miners who are twins or close siblings after approval by the Council. Prescribe a penalty of life imprisonment for a person who contravenes the provision,” said Dr. Charles Ayume, the Chairperson of the Committee on Health.
The Bill imposes a life sentence for anyone who removes a human organ, tissue, or cell from a living donor without consent or authorization; and prohibits the sale of ones organs for financial gains.
Corporate bodies will face a penalty of Shs10 billion for being involved in human organ trade. For the same offence, individuals including health workers or traffickers face a fine of Shs2 billion or imprisonment not exceeding 20 years or both.
The Bill prohibits monetary or any other forms of compensation for organs, tissues, or cells other than reimbursement of donation-related expenses except for justifiable expenses approved by the council.
Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, said that the Bill will help Ugandans get organ transplants, but also protect vulnerable people.