PUTRAJAYA: RM30 million has been given RM30 million to boost its heart and lung transplant team and is also set to get more than RM100 million to jumpstart its organ transplantation policy.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the Cabinet had approved the request for the money to be given to IJN has it had done a “very good job and made the nation proud”.
The cash boost would also benefit its mechanical heart programme.
“The Cabinet asked why the ministry was asking for so little. The ministers said if it were RM1bil, they would still give it. The first step is to help IJN strengthen its heart and lung transplant team including for training and equipment.”
Dr Chua said the ministry was also thinking of ways to strengthen its transplant team at the KL Hospital.
The IJN had recently carried out two-heart transplant surgery on 14-year old Tee Hui Yi and a lung transplant operation on a 39-year old man.
The National Organ, Tissue and Cell Transplantation Policy which was formulated in June this year is designed to carry out plans such as promotional activities and strengthening the current transplantation services, laboratory support services and national registries, he said.
He said the police would serve as a guideline for organ transplantation in the country, which has been carried out on an ad hoc basis so far.
A National Transplantation Council chaired by the ministry’s director general would oversee all policies related to transplantation and its progress while a technical committee headed by its deputy director general would decide on issues such as new approaches.
The ministry would also set up a secretariat to carry out daily implementation.
The policy would also look at issues such as organ donation exchanges between Malaysia and neighbouring countries, keeping the confidentiality of the organ and procedures in dealing with harvested organs, which finally could not be used.
He also said the most complicated part of the transplant process was harvesting the organ where time was limited to procure and transfer the organ to the recipient.
In the confidentiality of the organ donor, Dr Chua said it was a general policy to not allow the recipient meet if they were not blood relatives. “While we want people to donate organs to save lives and we understand that the organ recipient is normally very thankful, I am sure people who donate organs do not want publicity.” he said.
He expressed surprise that Sapiah Hamzah, 47, and Yusoff Hassan, 51, the parents of the first heart donor to Hui Yi, had made a public appearance and urged people not to harass them in order to generate publicity.