Uganda parliament considers law to curb illicit organ trade

The parliament of the republic of Uganda in capital Kampala
The parliament of the republic of Uganda in capital Kampala, Uganda September 28, 2017. REUTERS/James Akena/File Photo

KAMPALA, July 6 (Reuters) - A law to regulate the harvesting and trade in human organs and tissues has been introduced in Uganda's parliament, the health minister said, as authorities move to curb a growing illegal market in body parts such as kidneys in the country.

There has been a public outcry in Uganda over the trade in organs and tissues derived from unwilling donors.

According to accounts in local media, Ugandan women recruited for domestic work in the Middle East are sometimes duped into taking medical procedures in which their kidneys are harvested against their will.

Some hospitals, including public ones, have also been involved in the illicit trade, media reports have said.

The bill has been introduced in parliament and sent to the house's health committee for scrutiny, Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng told a local NTV television on Tuesday.

The proposed legislation - the first such for Uganda - seeks to regulate all activities around donation and transplant of organs and tissues and also prescribes punishments for a range of violations.

It aims to "ensure that we address issues of illicit trade that people keep on talking about every now and then," Aceng said.

It prohibits any commercial dealings in human organs and tissues including selling or buying and punishments include life imprisonment or monetary penalties of up to 2 billion shillings ($535,000).

($1 = 3,735.0000 Ugandan shillings)

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Hereward Holland and Angus MacSwan

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