Egyptian Parliamentarian suggests raising awareness on cornea donation, introducing eye bank



Wed, 01 Jun 2022 - 03:09 GMT


Wed, 01 Jun 2022 - 03:09 GMT

Human eye – Wikimedia Commons

Human eye – Wikimedia Commons

CAIRO – 1 June 2022: Member of the Health Affairs Committee at the House of Representatives Mervat Abdel Azim suggested Wednesday establishing an Egyptian eye bank, as there are almost one million citizens who need cornea transplants.


The parliamentarian added that campaigns must be launched in tandem to encourage people to donate their corneas after death. She added that most citizens who undergo transplant surgeries in Egypt, import corneas that could be acquired in suspicious ways.


According to a report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010, Egypt was described as a hub for organ trafficking and is the top country for organ transplants in the Middle East.

Consequently, the Egyptian Parliament approved a draft law in 2010 on organ donations and transplants, highlighting the necessity of ensuring equity and transplants for low-income patients that will be financed by the government. It also proposed the shut down commercial organ trading and organ trafficking. It allowed donation only upon death and prohibited the buying and selling of human organs and tissues.

The punishment for such activities includes imprisonment and a fine between LE 20,000 and LE 100,000. If the act was committed on a living person, it would result in imprisonment of no more than seven years; if the donor dies then the punishment can include a fine of up to LE 200,000.

Yet, the law is believed to have some loopholes that could allow for manipulation regarding the illicit organ trade, and it poses few penalties ranging between six months and a year.

In December 2016, Egypt’s health ministry uncovered an illicit human organ trade in which migrants were selling body parts to reach Europe. Involved in the organ trafficking were 45 doctors, nurses and organ buyers, all of whom have been arrested.

Hence, the Egyptian Parliament approved a draft law on organ transplantation on June 19, 2017. The law was prepared by the government and aims to amend some provisions of law No. 5/2010.

The approved amendments to the law included applying a punishment of strict imprisonment and a fine between LE 500,000 and LE 1 million on any person who removes an organ from a human body with the intention of illegally transplanting it.

If the illegal act is committed on a living person, the medical practitioner would be imprisoned for no more than 10 years. If the patient dies, the penalty rises to life imprisonment and includes a fine between LE 500,000 and LE 1 million.

The law stipulates that the transplantation of an organ or part of an organ or tissue to another human being is prohibited, unless it is necessary to save the life of the patient, and so long as there are no alternatives to save the patient’s life and the transplant does not pose any danger to the donor.



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