Posted by News Express | 30 December 2014 | 3,136 times
Senior lawyer and human frontline rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has raised the alarm over the apparent legalisation of human parts sale by the National Health Bill signed into law a fortnight ago by President Goodluck Jonathan as the National Health Act, 2015.
Falana raised the alarm yesterday while addressing a press conference in Lagos on the dangers of the new National Health Act.
He noted that portions of the Act infringe on the fundamental right of Nigerians to health as guaranteed by Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004
“The National Assembly has violated the fundamental rights of Nigerians to life, human dignity, privacy and freedom of thought, conscience and religion by authorising medical doctors to remove organs of living persons in Nigeria without their informed consent,” Falana said. He buttressed his point by quoting sections 48 and 51 of the new National Health Act, “which have made elaborate provisions for organ transplantation”:
48. (1) Subject to the provision of section 53, a person shall not remove tissue, blood or blood
product from the body of another living person for any purpose except;
(a) with the informed consent of the person from whom the tissue, blood or blood product is
removed granted in prescribed manner;
(b) that the consent clause may be waived for medical investigations and treatment in emergency
(c) in accordance with prescribed protocols by the appropriate authority.
(2) A person shall not remove tissue which is not replaceable by natural processes from a person
younger than eighteen years.
(3) A tissue, blood or a blood product shall not be removed from the body of another living persons for purpose of merchandise, sale, or commercial purposes.
(4) A person who contravenes the provisions of this section or fails to comply therewith is
guilty of an offence and liable on conviction as follows:
(a) in the case of tissue, a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment of not less than two years or
(b) in the case of blood or blood products, a fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term not
exceeding one year or both.
51. (1) A person shall not remove tissue from a living person for transplantation in another living person or carry out the transplantation of such tissue except:-
(a) in a hospital authorised for that purpose; and
(b) on the written authority of:
(i) the medical practitioner in charge of clinical services in that hospital or any other medical practitioner authorised by him or her; or
(ii) in the case where there is no medical practitioner in charge of the clinical services at that hospital a medical practitioner authorised thereto by the person in charge of the hospital.
(2) The medical practitioner stated in subsection (1)(b) shall not be the lead participant in a transplant for which he has granted authorisation under that subsection.
(3) For the purpose of transplantation, there shall be an independent tissue transplantation Committee within any health establishment that engages in the act and practice of transplantation as prescribed.
According to Falana, “Since all hospitals and other medical establishments have been mandated to admit and treat all persons in emergency situations the National Assembly have licensed medical personnel to engage in unauthorised surgical operations for the purpose of removing vital organs of living persons. Even though there are stringent penalties for commercialising any organs removed from any living person, why should the consent of the donor be dispensed with?
“In other parts of the Third World where similar dangerous legislation exist organs removed from living or dead persons are sold and transported to western countries where they are in high demand. Indeed, we have confirmed that the offending sections 48 & 51 of the Act were introduced to the Bill due to pressures from an influential foundation based in the United States.”
Falana declared sections 48 & 51 of the Act “immoral and illegal,” calling on the National Assembly to repeal them “without any delay.” He demanded that “the status quo before the enactment of the law whereby a donor of an organ had to give his/her informed consent should be restored.”
•Photo shows Femi Falana, SAN.
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