THE HEALTH BILL
DEFENDING THE FAMILY FROM POLICIES AND LAWS THAT UNDERMINES IT
CASE STUDY: HEALTH BILL TO TAKE ORGANS FROM BABY FACTORIES
Wikipedia defines organ harvesting as a surgical procedure, that removes organs or tissues for re-use, such as organ transplantation. The procedure is such that health condition of the organ must first of all be ascertained. If the source is human, he or she must be legally dead (cardiac or brain dead), or he or she must be an adult, who willingly chooses to donate some part of his or her organs.
Ann Shibler wrote “A procedure called “donations after cardiac death” is being allowed and encouraged by the Federal Government, organ banks and medical doctors as a way to increase organ donations. This protocol used now more commonly for infant heart transplants is frighteningly immoral and sets to redefine death declaration. The method known as Declaration of Cardio Circulatory Death (DCD), allows doctors to declare death following stoppage of the heart, rather than by the more certain brain death criteria, then as quickly as seventy five (75) seconds to five (5) minutes after declaration, doctors can slice into the baby’s chest to harvest the heart.
A Report in the “New England Journal of Medicine” highlighted three (3) cases of DCD studied at children’s hospital in Denver, United States of America. Three babies on life support, who showed little brain function but who did not meet the criteria for brain death were taken off ventilators and their hearts harvested and transplanted to other infants.
Dr. John Lantos, a Bioethicist and Pediatrician at the University of Chicago also declares “problems will arise, creating a temptation to bend the standards of futility in order to increase the supply of donors”.
ORGAN TRADING AND ORGAN BLACKMARKET
Organ trading takes place through trafficking, where traffickers force or deceive victims into giving up an organ. There are also situations where victims formally or informally agree to sell an organ and are cheated by not being paid at all or paid less than the promised/agreed price. For instance, in 2003, an illegal kidney procurement network was uncovered in South Africa. The donors were recruited mostly from the slums of Brazil, flown to South Africa, where the operation was performed. They were paid between $6000—$10,000 and were returned home, while the South African middlemen sold the organs for as much as $100,000. Some villagers in India are also believed to have sold their kidneys to organ traders for lesser amounts.
It is good to note that for the organ brokers, there is good money to be made. An Israeli middleman in the organ trade is believed to have made $4m before he was caught.
THE DANGERS THAT THE NIGERIAN FAMILIES WILL FACE IF THE NATIONAL HEALTH BILL 2014 IS SIGNED INTO LAW
It is general knowledge that so many Nigerians are unemployed, live below the poverty level and may see this new organ trade as an easy avenue to make money. This will definitely have the snowballing effect of the emergence of a new dimension to criminality that the government will be saddled with.Taking into account our current security challenges, this will be difficult to manage or eradicate. Already, some families, to make ends meet, are sending their children and wives to Western and Arab countries to prostitute and bring in money to the family and Government is yet to curtail this menace.
Organ trading will be the new crime. Nigerians will quickly fill the organ banks with their own organs and tissues, the organs and tissues of their children, family members, friends, neighbours and even enemies, because of the money they stand to make from this organ trade.
The wealthy, powerful, poor and lowly families in our society, will not be spared either, because baby factories will increase, and their daughters may get kidnapped by organ traders, to produce babies who will be slaughtered and their organs harvested. They or their family members will become victims in the hands of their domestic staff, who will want to sell them off to organ traders. Kidnapping for organ harvest will most definitely be on the rise.
Presently, working mothers are finding it extremely difficult to employ domestic staff, who can help them look after their children while they are at work, some children remain in school, long after closing time, waiting for their parents to return from work, all because there is no trustworthy person to look after them in their parents absence. This will get worsened once the bill is passed into law, because of fear, parents will not be able to trust even the school authority with the care of their children.
As a country we are battling with so much insecurity in our nation presently, please let us not worsen the already bad situation. We in Jemima Magazine, sympathize with all those who are waiting for organ transplants to be able to live again, we pray that God in his infinite mercies will heal and resuscitate their organs. God is capable of creating new organs. After all he created the whole man! We also have unflinching confidence in our President, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Johnathan that as God fearing, family man, a father of this Great Nation, and as man who knows and understands the value of human life, he will not signed this bill into law. The government should please look for a better alternative, like preventive health education or a more humane solution to the supply of organs to those in need of them, because this Bill is certainly not the solution!
Thanks and God bless NIGERIA!
Written by Vera Aigbonoga
Editor in Chief, Jemima Magazine.