Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of Workshop on “Transplant Ethics and Organ Donation”

Dr Kidong Park
18 October 2018

It is my pleasure to join you and share some of my thoughts on the topic of the workshop today: “Transplant Ethics and Organ Donation”

The demand for medical products of human origin is growing. It is growing because the new therapeutic applications have emerged, access to health care has improved, and demographics have changed.

The growth in demand for these products continues to outpace the increase in their availability. There are considerable inequalities of access to these products. The countries are also facing a number of issues and challenges in relation to these products. These include legal, social, ethical issues as well as rights, safety and dignity of both organ donors and organ recipients.

WHO stands on the principles of human dignity and solidarity. WHO condemns the buying of human body parts for transplantation and the exploitation of the poorest and most vulnerable populations and the human trafficking that result from such practices.

The World Health Assembly has endorsed these principles and governance mechanisms in 2010 by adopting the WHO Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue and Organ Transplantation. Since then, the WHO Secretariat, WHO collaborating centres and nongovernmental organizations have issued further guidance for facilitating implementation of those principles and mechanisms.

However, we should admit the situation that these issues persist and the available guidance is somewhat fragmented and generally oriented towards a number of specific products only.

The World Health Assembly further discussed this issue in 2017 (1) and decided to establish a Task Force on Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues. This task force will advise and assist the WHO and other Member States, in disseminating and implementing those Guiding Principles that would ensure ethical practices in organ and tissue donation and transplantation worldwide.

I understand today’s workshop will contribute to this global deliberation. Today’s workshop will also help Viet Nam tackle problems surrounding organ donation and transplantation currently facing Viet Nam.

I have noticed that Vietnam has issued the law on donation, removal and transplantation of human tissues and organs and donation and recovery of cadavers(2) already in 2006. This law sets out ethical principles and outlines procedures in this area. I would congratulate the Vietnam Society of Transplantation for its long standing effort in the last 20 years, and its contribution in making and implementing this law.

I believe today’s workshop will provide an opportunity for Viet Nam to examine whether the Guiding Principles in organ donation and transplantation are fully applied in Viet Nam.

I believe today’s workshop will provide an opportunity for Viet Nam to identify action points to further strengthen governance and practice in organ donation and transplantation.

I appreciate the Vietnam Society of Transplantation for organizing this important workshop. My special thanks will also go to the Vitallink, the Raphael International, Korean Society of Transplantation for their technical assistance.

WHO is committed to support the country and ready to serve as a knowledge and technical source for Vietnam in this process. I wish you a productive meeting.

Thank you