The 'Transplantation of Human Organs Bill, 2017', was placed in Parliament on Wednesday with a provision of three years of rigorous imprisonment or Tk 10 lakh fine or both for violation of the law, aiming to check the illegal trade of human organs.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim placed the bill and it was sent to the respective parliamentary standing committee for further examination. The committee was asked to submit its report within 60 days.
According to the bill no hospital can conduct human organ transplantation in the country without government's approval while the public hospitals having specialised units in this regard can do the job without taking prior approval.
Private hospitals have to apply to the authorities concerned to do the job within 60 days of enactment of the law.
As per the proposed law, there will be a medical board in every hospital for deciding the transplantation matter and a National Cadaveric Committee to oversee the human organs transplantation in the country.
Organ donation is the donation of biological tissue or an organ of the human body from a living or dead person to a living recipient who needs a transplantation.
In the name of organ donation, illegal trade of organs has reportedly been going on in the country for over a decade.
Wealthy recipients and brokers trick the poor and illiterate people into selling their organs by making false promises like high prices and jobs and travel to foreign countries.
The existing law stipulates imprisonment for three to seven years, Tk 3 lakh as fine or both for violating the law.
The law is aimed at improving the country's health care services keeping consistency with advancement of medical science.
It has been formulated making the existing law of 1999 more time-befitting, and once the law is implemented it will be able to check trafficking of human organs and their illegal trade.
Besides, patients willing to transplant organs might not need to go abroad for the transplantation of human organs.
The draft law defines close relationship as the relatives like parents, children, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives as well as blood-related grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, maternal and paternal uncles, and aunts.
According to the proposed law, any organ transplantable to the human body, including kidney, liver, bone, eye, heart, lung and tissue, could be transplanted after their collection from human bodies having heartbeats or in active with life support for transplantation purpose.
Any doctor convicted under the law will lose his or her registration with Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council.
A three-member coordination committee will be formed in every hospital comprising a neurologist, an anaesthesiologist and a medicine or critical medicine specialist and they will be professors or at least associate professors.
As per the new proposed law, a National Cadaveric Committee will be constituted with Vice Chancellor of the BSMMU as its Chairman to oversee the human organ transplantation, visit transplantation activities as well as to advise the government regarding human organ transplantation.
Besides, there will be a four-member certification board headed by a director of the Health Directorate and no organ transplantation will be allowed in any hospital of the country without certification of the board.
There will also be a three-member medical board in every hospital for deciding the transplantation of the organs with a professor of the Department of Surgery as its chief.
The board could also co-opt one or more such expertise physicians as its members if necessary.
Up to two years of rigorous imprisonment or fine of Tk up to 5 lakh or both the punishments will be given if anyone gives false information on relationship between donors and recipients, encourages or provokes anybody to give such information.
Anyone violating other provisions of the new draft law could be jailed for a maximum of three-year term or be penalised with the highest fine of Tk 10 lakh or both the punishments.
Besides, for violation of the law by any hospital or clinic, their owner, director and manager or whatever designation they belong to will be considered as the offenders unless they can prove that the crimes are committed beyond their knowledge.
For such offences, the organ transplantation permission of the concerned hospital or clinic would be cancelled along with imposition of fine.