KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working to revamp its organ and tissue procurement services, as there are only 30 organ and tissue donations annually for over 20,000 Malaysians waiting for donor organs.
The Star reported that MOH is looking to reactivate two national bodies that deal with organ donation and transplant policies, refine the role of the centre in Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) that coordinates organ and tissue procurement in the country, and set up organ procurement units in 16 focus hospitals.
The government is also looking to close the ministry’s seven regional transplant resource centres.
“The seven regional centres will be closed as they mainly cater to the hospital they are based in and mostly carry out promotional activities,” MOH director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was quoted saying in a circular, according to The Star.
“The 16 focus hospitals will now set up their own organ procurement units that will be responsible for identifying potential tissue and organ donors.”
The hospitals, which all have intensive care units, include the largest government hospitals in every state except Perlis.
The focus hospitals will have new teams consisting of full-time medical officers, whose task is to detect potential organ and tissue donors from patients who have been declared brain dead or who have suffered cardiac-related deaths.
“They are also to monitor cases at the intensive care unit, including for neuro and paediatrics, coronary care unit, emergency department and forensic departments to identify potential cases,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
All state health directors must ensure there is a full-time coordinator for organ and tissue donation at 26 other government hospitals with specialist services in the states.
Separately, the 34-member National Transplantation Council (NTC) will be reactivated. Its terms of reference included deciding the direction and policies of the country’s organ and tissue transplant services.
The NTC will have representatives from universities, the Malaysian Society of Transplantation, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia, Malaysian Medical Association, Academy of Medicine Malaysia, Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and Institute of Islamic Under-standing Malaysia (Ikim), as well as the non-Muslim religious bodies.
“The NTC will be responsible for monitoring the development and achievements of our national organ and tissue transplant services.
“It will also ensure that the transplantation practices in Malaysia have high standards and ethics,” added Dr Noor Hisham.
Furthermore, the National Transplantation Technical Committee (NTTC), whose job includes making recommendations on policy matters to the NTC, will also be reactivated.
The NTTC will be chaired by the MOH deputy director-general and will include all state health directors.
“The NTTC will be required to set up expert committees on training, quality and accreditation, laws and ethics as well as planning and development of services.
“It will then make the necessary recommendations to the ministry,” Dr Noor Hisham reportedly stated.
The ministry will also rename The National Transplant Resource Centre based in HKL to the National Transplant Centre, which will coordinate all organ and tissue donations upon the death of donors.
The centre will be responsible for arranging the logistics with commercial airlines, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, the police, airport security, medical and transplant teams.
Dr Noor Hisham said all states would be required to set up their own transplantation technical committees chaired by the respective health directors.