Monday, 17 June, 2024

Kidney For Cash!

Bini Dahal

Illegal organ trading is one of the most inhuman acts that anyone has ever come up with. However, a strong instinct to survive has pushed hundreds of thousands of people to do so.
This problem is reported to be rampant in many countries, including Nepal and Afghanistan. With Afghanistan's economy in ruins, many Afghans have been found involved in such an unlawful activity. There exists an alarming rate of unemployment in this part of the world and most people have lost their ability to meet even their basic needs. So in the quest for survival, a large number of Afghans have resorted to selling their kidneys for their and their family’s survival.

As reported by Aljazeera, kidney selling is a very common practice in Herat, giving the city an alternative name of ‘one-kidney village.’ Understanding through medical terms, it is not a necessity for a human being to have two kidneys. Even a single kidney, if functioning properly, can help an individual live a healthy life. But, it is the responsibility of the concerned individual to maintain a healthy lifestyle – exercising regularly, getting timely check-ups and eating a nutritious diet.

Now, these criteria are not applicable to Afghani kidney donors. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than half of the country’s estimated 40 million population face “extreme levels of hunger and nearly 9 million of them are at risk of famine.” They are stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty and deprivation.

The illegal practice of kidney donation is just a way of short-term survival. In general, each of donors has been found earning around $1,500 which is spent for paying off their family debt and meeting basic needs. With these lots having no any alternative source of income, a long-term solution to this problem is not in sight.

The illicit organ trading is found to be a common practice in Nepal as well. This happens rapidly even when Nepal’s laws have a clear provision that kidney donation can only be done between family members or between spouses after two years of marriage. The majority of such cases have been reported in Kavrepalanchowk district. There have been instances where Nepali people are coerced into travelling all the way to India for illegal kidney surgeries.

Open borders and a lack of travel restrictions have helped these practices to flourish. The innocent and gullible individuals are made to believe that they will be able to earn easy money.
Money is always a motivating factor for individuals to opt for ways they would not have taken otherwise. While short-term earning is guaranteed through selling a kidney, human health gets jeopardised for a lifetime. It is the responsibility of the government and the concerned authorities to pay their urgent attention to these matters. While complete banning of kidney trading has to stop once and for all, firstly economic stability has to be ensured among the people. When they are financially stable and able to support themselves and their family, they will in no way resort to such life-threatening alternatives.

Going through these kinds of news reports is a torture in itself. But can we imagine the intensity of mental and physical pain an individual goes through after selling a kidney? If this illegal way of earning money is stopped, people might resort to something bigger. It is high time we recommend some serious policy measures. International donors should provide support for the Afghani people. And the law within the country should completely ban it while finding alternatives for the people.