A new market for organ transplant tourism
On 11/26/99, an article was published in “Sharq” entitled “When pollens are sold”. This article is a report on the sale of kidneys in one of the villages of Herat, Afghanistan. The price of each kidney is between 3,800 and 4,500 dollars, and a hospital in Herat has performed more than a thousand kidney transplants in the last five years. Performing complex kidney transplant work in Herat is a good thing that was started by the experts of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences in 2016, but what is questionable is the price of the kidney. Do the people of Afghanistan, especially the people of Herat province, have the power to pay such a price to buy a kidney? Does Herat province, with a population of about three million, have enough kidney transplant patients to perform about 200 transplants a year at a Herat city hospital? These are the questions that raise the question of creating a new market for tourism in the city of Herat. Transplant tourism is a phenomenon that wealthy people associate with traveling to poor countries and paying for membership. Unfortunately, this has a relatively long history in the world. Due to the prevalence of kidney disease, many people need a kidney transplant to save it. Due to the lack of organs for transplantation and the prohibition of organ trade in many countries, patients sometimes go to poor countries to buy organs. Profiteers have also created a black market due to this need for organ procurement, which ultimately leads to the exploitation of the vulnerable class of society. In recent years, countries such as India, Pakistan, Turkey, China or South Africa have been active in the field of transplant tourism, but with the intervention of transplant associations and the World Health Organization, the governments of these countries were forced to intervene and close it. Many countries, after consulting with the World Transplant Association and the World Health Organization, have banned the phenomenon of transplant tourism. In our country, Iran, tourism is also an illegal link. The interesting thing about this article is that the sale of organs is illegal in Afghanistan as well, but it seems that the profiteers continue to do so. Citizens of neighboring countries or the countries bordering the Persian Gulf seem to travel there to receive all the vulnerable people of Herat province. The intervention of the governor of Herat to help these people and confront the profiteers is commendable. It is hoped that legal action will prevent this illegal and immoral act in Afghanistan.
Dr. Reza Saidi Firoozabadi – Transplant surgeon