GMOA accuses govt. of falling into Indian trap



by Dasun Edirisinghe


The government has lent credence to a non-existing human organ racket here and deprived the country of foreign exchange by imposing an ill-conceived, blanket ban on kidney transplant operations on foreigners in Sri Lanka, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) says.


GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said the end result of the government ban served the purposes of Indian doctors and medical industry to block a large number of Indians coming here for kidney transplant operations.


The ban was the result of a well-orchestrated media campaign in India against the Sri Lankan doctors. Kidney transplant operations in India had attracted many Indians and obviated the need for the Sriā€ˆLankan kidney patients to go to India, dr. Herath said.


GMOA spokesman Dr Naveen De Zoysa said: "We pride ourselves on our dedicated humane approach to our patients with our excellent and reliable renal care. Sri Lanka, which had a bad reputation as a country dependent on remittances from its women slaving away in West Asia as housemaids, has just started earning foreign exchange through legal and honourable means and that has made India unhappy."


Dr. Haritha Aluthge of the GMOA said: "The biggest harm was done by the Indian media by cooking up a story of a kidney racket in Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate that a section of our media, too, fell to the trap laid by Indians by repeating those stories."


The donor had to be healthy and the process was much more sensitive and complex, compared to the normal medical treatment, Dr Aluthge said, adding that all transplant operations conducted in Sri Lanka had been done only after the approval of an Ethical Review Committee comprising of judicial medical officers, physicians, surgeons, non medical legal experts and other respectable citizens. Thereafter the approval of the Director General of Health Services had to be obtained and all kidney transplants conducted in Sri Lanka had been performed in accordance with the provisions of the Human Tissue Act No 48 of 1987.


Dr Senal Fernando of the GMOA said: "In India the situation is different and actually organ rackets happen there. Sometimes, they kidnap the persons and their organs are forcibly removed. It is no wonder that Sri Lankan organ transplanting industry was gaining in the region due to India’s bad reputation. Our doctors were actually promoting health tourism. What the government’s ban has done is to back a conspiracy hatched by the Indians."


He said: "It is so unfortunate that our authorities act without conducting investigations. Now our patients would have two options if they are diagnosed with kidney problems – they could make up their mind to die of the ailment or go abroad to India undergo substandard treatment at an enormous cost."


Director of General Health Services Dr Palitha Mahipala, contacted for comment, said there had been some Indian reports and the Health Ministry had to take some action; there were two investigations underway, he said.


"A committee of five members appointed by the Ministry is conducting one investigation while the police are conducting a separate probe," he said.


When the results of these investigations came up the truth would be revealed, Dr. Maheepala said, noting that the suspension of kidney transplant operations was temporary.


He said: "They could be resumed if the investigations prove that nothing untoward had happened. Similarly, if the investigations prove something illegal has happened then the offenders will be brought to justice."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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