Organ trade, specifically organ trafficking, has been on the rise on a global scope. So often, the world grapples over unfortunate stories of physicians, a network of brokers, and hospitals engaging in unregulated organ transplants (Danovitch et al., 2013). High-profile media is occasionally occupied with the unfortunate stories of people narrating their encounters from organ donations, more so the victims facing the ramifications of the trade. Profitable enterprises in the organ trade industry have been exploiting the poor to the core because of the unregulated nature of the services (Cohen, 2013). A major problem exists with the exploitation of the poor in underdeveloped countries where the surgeries are done under substandard medical care despite the unacceptable outcomes. However, there is a glimmer of hope to boost altruistic organ donation in a bid to subdue the organ traffic or trade. On the contrary, the implementation of such efforts has always been hit by significant drawbacks (Lavee, Ashkenazi, Stoler, Cohen & Beyar, 2013). Policy recommendations to regulate organ donation are poised to offer a solution to the escalating problems of the number of patients requiring organ donation services, a larger percentage being kidney failure. Specifically, serious organ shortage proves the inherent need to devise ways of controlling and regulating organ donation to address high mortality rates due to long waiting lists in hospitals (Bernhardt, Rahmel & Reichenspurner, 2013). The creation of organ donation pools (centers for secure and regulated organ donations) has been the policy recommendation, with considerable success in countries like China and Israel (Lavee et al., 2013). Hence, any measure focused on enhancing the donor pool in well-resourced countries in meeting their needs will be instrumental in deterring the increased organ trade in the under-resourced countries.
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Currently, the pressing shortage or limited supply of organs has escalated the international organ trade with potential patients traveling abroad to get such services through commercial transactions (Cohen, 2013). Particularly, the World Health Organization has identified a serious concern in the international arena by recommending measures to curb the trade and protect the poor in developing nations from exploitation from transplant tourism and the sale of organs (Danovitch et al., 2013). The implication is that the shortage of organs has opened room for organ trade, attracting different stakes in the deal including unscrupulous brokers exploiting the poor to benefit the recipients in the rich countries. The lack of clear policies for controlling organ donation is to blame for the lucrative transplant tourism because as the demand for organ supply increases, the trade is being made under guises quite tricky to unearth (Lavee et al., 2013). For instance, some are recorded as donations from relatives while no clear medical records are documenting the parties involved in the process.
However, few people are getting the best out of the trade, including the donors who are sometimes duped out of the compensation plans (Bernhardt et al., 2013). Besides, there is more to ponder about especially the adverse effects of the poorly done and substandard surgeries that put the donors to significant health risks. In addition, most of the organ donations and trade services are being done under the excuse of philanthropic gestures from the donors. In most cases of the acquitted brokers or traders, they cite that the donors were willing and driven by their magnanimous gesture towards saving the lives of others (Lavee et al., 2013). Therefore there is a need for a solution to ensure that organ donations are out of generous gesture while at the same time providing centers for safe surgeries to prevent adverse health outcomes hence addressing the current organ shortage.
One of the most efficient solutions is the introduction of measures for enhancing the donor pool in developed countries in a bid to meet their organ donation needs (Jafar, 2009). Such an incentive is poised to address and deter the proliferating organ traffic or trade in developing nations. Particularly, any policy recommendation for enhancing the donor pool in developed countries should focus on encouraging regulated schemes, especially reimbursement emphasizing the removal of the potential disincentives towards organ donation (Sui, Zheng, Yang & Dai, 2014). Besides, the regulation schemes should be geared towards ensuring the long-term safety of the donors as well as their families. If such actions are included alongside effective policy, then living donations will increase while the lives of the donors also safeguarded and at the same time curbing organ trafficking or trade. The programs are socially responsible, and with the right approach or incentive, they can be successfully implemented in both developed and impoverished countries that have fallen victims to the trade (Jafar, 2009).
On the other hand, a policy recommending donor pool is geared toward establishing regulated, ethical as well as a standardized system of organ procurement (Jafar, 2009). Particularly, the policy on creating a donor pool should be complemented with awareness creation among the physicians as well as the public. Furthermore, the solution should be implemented congruent with incentives for upgrading facilities, in addition to the standardization of the medical care (Beard, Kaserman & Osterkamp, 2013). Finally, the policy should be used alongside an enforceable legislation targeting the transplantation. Therefore, organ trade or sale will reduce if donor pool is created in the developing and developed countries as a way of encouraging altruistic donations while on the other hand, updating and standardizing medical care to help safeguard the health of the donors (Jafar, 2009).
Therefore, to address the rampant organ trade, it will be imperative to introduce a policy regulating the organ donor system or creating a donor pull. Historically, the policy had been introduced in Iran to greater success (Jafar, 2009). One of the policy requirements under this provision is the registration of the potential donors under the government. More so, the policy should compel the process to undergo a detailed evaluation of the donors as well as providing for informed consent (Jafar, 2009). Also, a donor pool policy focusing on introducing a state-run program should not include any broker while at the same time provide for post-transplant care.
Conversely, a policy promoting the establishment of donor pools is effective since it is supplemented with measures aimed at defining a professional code of conduct for physicians (Bernhardt et al., 2013). Specifically, such incentives are geared towards establishing codes of conduct for the health care facilities as well as integrating professional roles in addressing unregulated paid organ donations (Lavee et al., 2013). Notably, the policy will bring accountability in the health care profession by making the physicians accountable for both the safety of the donors and the patients. Hence, the donor pool policy will be useful in holding the professionals accountable for the health implications of the donations. In addition, with policies promoting organ donor pools, the health care professionals contribute a great deal in the reduction of sale and trade of organs, especially when they refuse to cooperate or assist with the organs donations in an unregulated manner (Sui et al., 2014). Moreover, with an effective policy addressing organ donations and transplant, physicians, as well as surgeons, will adhere to medical ethics as pertaining to organs transplants.
The success of a donor pool policy will be reflected in different areas. In particular, it will encourage safe organ transplants thereby reducing the risks of organ trafficking and combating the organ trade menace currently rocking the world (Jafar, 2009). Besides, the waiting lists in the hospitals will be reduced due to the available of the organs facing severe shortages like kidneys. The donor pool policy will address the ethical issue surrounding organ donation because it recommends following of professional guidelines and procedures (Cohen, 2013). For instance, with the codes of ethics governing the practice of the surgeries, health professionals will be keen to avoid professional and ethical implications as the policy compels them to accountability. Overall, the impacts will be felt in the well-resourced countries meeting their organ needs since they are the primary markets for which the organs are being traded. In return, a strong deterrence towards the high proliferation of the unregulated transplants in the developing countries will end.
However, the success of the policies aimed at curbing organ trade depends on the reluctance of the government in implementing the recommendations. As Cohen (2013) observes, countries have tried to adhere to such resolutions, but inherent challenges have made the realization of such goals void. Substantial resistances from the organ traders and passively from the major players (who are influential people in the society) have rendered the policies a major challenge to realize. An excellent example is cited of Pakistani’s case where despite the institution legislation to ban the trade in addition to strict monitoring of the organ donations, the commitment to its implementation seems to be a utopian dream (Jafar, 2009). Likewise, the donor pool policy will be effective if the government is committed to its implementation.
In summary, the argument identifies the current increased trend in organ trade and trafficking as a major challenge. However, solutions have been explored, with the best one being the creation of regulated organ donations to reduce the organ trade menace. Precisely, a donor pool strategy has been recommended since it emphasizes creating safe centers for organ donations. The effectiveness of the policy will be evident from the instances of reduces trade, health professional following professional behavioral codes while at best, standardizing the procedures for the surgeries. Conversely, commitment to implementing the policy will be the basis of success of the donor pool strategy in curbing organ trade.
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