WHO warns illegal organ trade is increasing rapidly
The illegal trade of organs on the black market is increasing rapidly across the world, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.
It is thought a rise in diabetes and other non-communicable diseases are to blame, as demand far outweighs the availability of healthy organs.
The WHO has estimated approximately 10,000 organs are traded illegally on the black market every year, and kidneys are the most popular, accounting for 75 percent of the overall trade.
According the Guardian newspaper, which carried out an investigation into the trend, people are willing to pay as much as US$200,000 for an organ on the black market.
To read the latest edition of Healthcare Global, click here
- Customer service staff to get dementia training
- Gene discovery could lead to contraceptive pill for men
- UK confirms rabies case following dog bite
Areas such as China, India and Pakistan are where the problem is most prevalent, and where it is being fuelled by gangs.
Commenting on the trend, an official from the WHO, told the Guardian: “The illegal trade worldwide was falling back in about 2006-07 – there was a decrease in 'transplant tourism’.
“The trade may well be increasing again. There have been recent signs that that may well be the case.
“There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made.
“It's ever growing, it's a constant struggle. The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there.”
Noel believes that lacking legal systems and minimal law enforcement makes it too easier for organ traffickers to target vulnerable members of the community.
They often tempt them by saying if they sell their organs, they will be able to afford the latest gadgets, such as the new iPad.
In total 106,879 organ transplants – both legal and illegal – were carried out in 2010, and Noel estimates one in 10 of these transplants occurred on the black market.
Also speaking to the Guardian, a professor of renal medicine at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS trust, Jim Feehally, said: “We know of countries in Asia, and also in eastern Europe, which provide a market so that people who need a kidney can go there and buy one.
“The people who gain are the rich transplant patients who can afford to buy a kidney, the doctors and hospital administrators, and the middlemen, the traffickers.
“It's absolutely wrong, morally wrong.”
The Healthcare Global magazine is now available on the iPad. Click here to download it.
Dexcom: changing the lives of people with type 1 diabetes
It is estimated that 9.3% of adults around the world are living with type 1 diabetes, which amounts to a total of 463 million people. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 are living with the condition.
Unlike the more prevalent type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin and symptoms develop slowly, people with type 1 diabetes need regular insulin injections or pumps, and must monitor their sugar levels frequently.
In recent years a number of remote glucose monitoring systems have become available that patients can use at home. These work with a sensor, usually placed under the skin, that measures glucose levels every few minutes. This information is then transmitted wirelessly to a device like a smartphone or tablet, which can then be shared with their clinician.
British actress Nina Wadia's son Aidan, 14, has type 1 diabetes, and has been managing his condition using Dexcom, a glucose monitoring system used by patients all over the world. Here Wadia explains how Dexcom has improved their lives.
As a parent of someone with type 1 diabetes, what is your day-to-day life like?
Being able to take a breath, think and pivot constantly without getting frustrated becomes an essential mindset because sometimes it feels like each day is determined to be different from the day before. Whatever worked yesterday is going to misfire today.
Which areas of yours and Aidan’s life are most impacted by diabetes?
The one thing that you have to fight hard to reclaim is spontaneity, especially when it comes to food and exercise. It’s only when this is taken do you realise how essential each one is. You can be flexible and there are no real limits, but only in the sense that a great athlete can be flexible without limits because they’ve trained super hard to be that way. So we’ve all had to become athletes when it comes to being spontaneous.
How has Dexcom helped you and Aidan?
Dexcom has brought future science fiction to real life today. The continuous glucose monitoring system is tiny, sits discreetly on his body and gives him a ten-day breather between sensor changes, so it's goodbye finger-pricking seven times daily.
Dexcom is totally active at a grass roots level and for Diabetes Awareness has pledged to donate £2,000 if #DexcomDiabetesStories and/or #DexcomWarriorStories is shared 200 times! I’ll be sharing more on social media and would love to hear how other families are winning their fights.
Maybe most importantly Dexcom is trying to introduce a reimbursement programme for type 1 diabetes patients which will give greater access to modern, life changing hi-tech. I want to spread the word on the importance of accessing it through this campaign.
If you compared your life today with how it was before Aidan was using Dexcom, what has changed?
It's always working, which lets him take his mind off diabetes for longer stretches. It also lets me get off his back. We both receive alerts so I no longer have to pester him by asking him what his number is, and especially importantly, I don’t have to wake him at night to prick his finger if I’m worried. Dexcom gave us back our sleep!