Do women without kidneys mean children without future?

Mon 08 August 2011 13:32 GMT | 18:32 Local Time

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News.Az reprints from REALIRAN.net an article by Amir Mostafavi.

I always admire Iranian women because they deserve it. Our women are obliged to bear numerous restrictions artificially imposed by our government, but they have not lost their face, respect and dignity. Unfortunately, as a result of the policy of our authorities, our women spoil their health for the sake of their future children.

Dear readers, I want to tell you the story of my former neighbor-Zohra. She was always joyous and cheerful, shestudied at the medical university and graduated from it successfully. We often met at the street in our quiet  lane and I always asked how the things were going on, because I knew that Zohra’s life was not easy-her father died in the second half of the 1980s in the Iraqi war and her mother worked alone to raise her family. Zohra had two younger siblings. But recently I passed via Zohra and stopped only when she called me by name. I could not recognize her-she was so pale, despite the July Tehran sun, and so thin.

'What happened, Zohra? Why are you so thin?'. I asked. 'Don’t even ask! It is all because of surgery! Haven’t you heard that I have recently sold my kidney? And now I am sick!'… What could I tell her? She is so young and already half-disabled. And it is not the sole case, since unofficial price on kidney here is about $10,000.

For this reason, many unemployed Iranians prefer this way to settle their financial problems quickly and also to pay for wedding parties and other family festivities… It is inexplicable and unclear to me, since even by medical indicators, having just one kidney may cause numerous implications, but poverty is a way not only to this…

As a whole, the situation in the kidney trade in our country is too dark and tough. On one hand, we can be proud that it was decided already back in 1985 to carry out kidney transplants in the country.

And in 1988 a state program on compensated organ transplantation from non-relative donors was adopted. As a result, 19,609 kidney transplants were carried out in over 20 years (3,421 - from donor families, 15,365 from non-relative donors and 823 from dead donors). On average, 28 kidney transplant operations per 1 million population are carried out in our country.

All the more, outwardly it looks decent and godly - the government and state controlled group of donors pay the treated donor $4,500 dollars and grant him one year of free health insurance. But no one asks a simple question - why does the percentage of kidneys sales grow?

Why Iran is one of the leading countries in kidney trade? Why every year thousands of people come into the country for a transplant? Is it because a lot of our fellow citizens in search of money come to the black market, where prices for body are several times higher, and sell their kidney and thus their health?

They can object my views claiming that this is legal. I agree with this. But legalization has brought more harm than good. After all, previously a person, having no money, thought how to earn through his own labor, took extra work, did not sleep at night and made money. What now? Now people choose the easy way – to sell kidneys. I'm afraid that soon a new proverb will enrich our language - "Want to get married? Sell ​​a kidney!" But no one thinks what will happen a year after the sale of kidneys, when the money runs and insurance out.

In this sense, I felt bad at Zohra’s story and her bitter fate.  But few people seem to care about the scale of this problem. I talk to many people and they often say that there is nothing to worry about - most of these donors receive compensation from the recipient or, if the recipient is poor, from charity organizations.

The state also provides all patients with immunosuppressive drugs at a reduced price. And yet ... Pale Zohra stands in front of my eyes. I have consulted with my friend who is a doctor and learned from him that drugs such as tacrolimus, sirolimus, and OKT3 are not subsidized by the state, and their cost is not covered by insurance. Besides, they are very expensive and therefore rarely used.

Thus, opportunities for individualization of immunosuppressive therapy in our country are very limited. If we put it in simple language, it means that in case of serious complications it would be very difficult to help the person who sold his kidney...

There is one negative point - a growing number of women who sell a kidney. Half of the transplanted kidneys function only for 10 years. The problem is that many women are forced by relatives to donate their kidney. And the size of state compensation provided to the donor is about $1,200, which is not enough to make people's lives without kidneys normal, because most donors (84%) are from poor families...

I think this is wrong. Indeed, medical insurance is the only social benefit for a donor currently. And a person, who sells his organ to a stranger, saves or improves the life of another member of society. And society must realize its obligations to the donor and provide him with full compensation, not only financial but also social (benefits, etc.).

This is the minimum. And the maximum is that our government should improve living standards of Iranians so that they will not have to sell their kidneys for money... After all, Zohra, who has not become a mother yet, has kidneys no longer. How she will be a mom to her children - healthy or sick? Are not the authorities ashamed for Zohra and for those like her who sacrifice their health because of poverty?

This article was published in REALIRAN.net

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