Experts from WHO, Kazakhstan discuss ethics of organ donation

Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/ Kazinform
Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/ Kazinform

Astana hosted a seminar on April 16, gathering leading experts from the World Health Organization to discuss current topics related to organ donation and transplantation in Kazakhstan and address global experience in the field, Kazinform News Agency correspondent reports.

The seminar addressed issues of the legal and ethical framework for organ donation and transplantation, the national transplant program in Kazakhstan, work with public opinion and cultural aspects of organ donation. Particular attention was paid to discussions with religious leaders and opinion leaders regarding ethics in organ donation.

In an interview with Kazinform, Stratos Chatzixiros, Policy Advisor for Organ Donation and Transplantation at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, expressed concern about the low donation rates in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Stratos Chatzixiros. Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/ Kazinform
Stratos Chatzixiros. Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/ Kazinform

“We see that in Kazakhstan, there is a very low donation rate (...) In some countries we don't even have transplantation at all. We were looking in countries like Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, but we didn't find any information,” he said.

He stressed the importance of raising awareness about organ donation and developing infrastructure for transplantation. Cooperation between countries in the region to exchange experience and resources is also important.

Chatzixiros assured that WHO is ready to support the efforts of countries in the region to develop transplantation and organ donation programs that will improve the health and quality of life of all residents.

Aidar Sitkazinov. Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/ Kazinform
Aidar Sitkazinov. Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/ Kazinform

Dr. Aidar Sitkazinov, director of the National Center for Coordination of Transplantation, also addressed the current situation with posthumous organ donation in Kazakhstan.

He emphasized that only 97,000 out of 11 million adults in the country expressed their attitude to this topic, and only 6,000 of them agreed to become donors.

“We need to move towards ensuring that our public opinion changes towards posthumous donation,” Sitkazinov told Kazinform.

He also noted the need for broad involvement of all ministries of the country in developing an interdepartmental plan to change the situation.

“We are ready to discuss this topic with everyone,” he added.

The seminar also presented the best global practices in organ transplantation, including the experience of Spain and the role of the European Society of Organ Transplantation.

The workshop also addressed practical and cultural issues, including coordination among participants in the transplant process and dealing with public perceptions and cultural and moral aspects of organ donation.

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