Access to Transplant Organs

The worldwide shortage of deceased organs has led to the emergency of organ trafficking and medical tourism programmes preying on the vulnerability of the poor and disadvantaged. Organ trafficking, together with transplant tourism and commercialism were addressed by an international summit and resulted in the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism. The aim of the Declaration was to halt unethical activities in organ transplantation and to promote safe and accountable practices that met the needs of transplant recipients while protecting transplant donors (Steering Committee of the Istanbul Summit, 2008).

In the UK, the Organ Donation Taskforce published a report 'Organs for Transplant' published in January 2008, with proposals to increase organ donation. The report made 14 recommendations, with many implemented by the time of review 3 years later (Organ Donation Taskforce, 2011).

The European Commission has adopted several policies to ensure the quality and safety of human organs, increase organ availability, and enhance the efficiency and accessibility of transplantation systems within the EU (European Commission, 2016).

In the US, documentation on the evolution of liver allocation and distribution (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2016b) and the kidney allocation system (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2016c) is available from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has also published a series of policy brochures for allocation of solid organs for transplantation (UNOS, 2015).