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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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SPECIAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 1996  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 128-130
Update of Organ Transplantation in the Gulf Co-operation Council Countries


1 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
2 Sultanate of Oman
3 Kuwait
4 Qatar
5 United Arab Emirates
6 Bahrain

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How to cite this article:
Shaheen FA, Salmeen NM, Al-Muzairy IA, Hussain AA, Fikry MM, Al-Areedh AS. Update of Organ Transplantation in the Gulf Co-operation Council Countries. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 1996;7:128-30

How to cite this URL:
Shaheen FA, Salmeen NM, Al-Muzairy IA, Hussain AA, Fikry MM, Al-Areedh AS. Update of Organ Transplantation in the Gulf Co-operation Council Countries. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 1996 [cited 2020 Feb 27];7:128-30. Available from: http://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?1996/7/2/128/39512
The organ transplantation committee in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) was formed by order of the executive office of the Ministers of Health in GCC in 1992. It continues to meet regularly in order to esta­blish solid grounds for co-operation among the GCC countries in the field of organ transplantation. An article about the status of organ transplantation in the GCC appeared in the March issue of this journal in 1995.

In this report we give a follow up of the activities of this committee which had its latest meeting in Abu-Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) in March 1996.

Each delegate of the GCC countries to the committee reported about the recent development of the activities of organ transplantation in his country.

In United Arab Emirates (UAE), the total number of renal transplantations reached 73 from living related donors and two from cadaveric donors. Other important develop­ments included:

  1. Formation of a national central committee for coordination of organ transplantation in U.A.E.
  2. Formation of regional committees in the medical zones for the follow-up of recipients of organ transplantation.
  3. Symposia to increase awareness of organ donation and transplantation forwarded to medical personnel and the public were held last year.
  4. Brochures, pamphlets and organ donor cards were issued to increase the awareness of the public about organ donation.


Bahrain started its renal transplantation program last year and seven operations have been accomplished from living donors. charter for organ transplantation will be issued soon. A central lab for tissue typing was established. Moreover, a bone marrow transplantation center has been equipped to start soon to perform such operations in Bahrain. Several symposia about organ transplantation have been organized.

Saudi Arabia continued its achievements in the various organ transplantation fields in 1995. There were 139 renal transplants from living donors, 131 renal transplant­ation from cadaveric donors, 45 liver transplants, 7 heart transplants, 39 hearts were used as source for valves, and 36 cornea transplants from local donors. Saudi Arabia continues very active program to promote organ donation by increasing the awareness of doctors and public of the organ transplantation program via symposia and visits to the donating hospitals.

Sultanate of Oman established a new unit for bone marrow transplantation, and six operations were performed last year. Renal transplantation continued its activities. Seven kidneys from living related donors and eight from cadaveric ones were transplanted last year.

Qatar had an active renal transplant program till 1991. More than 157 kidneys were performed upto that time. However, it was inactivated due to technical problems. Currently, corneas transplantation program is still active at a rate of 10-15 corneal operations annually. An act to organize organ transplantation is being prepared in order to reactivate the program.

In Kuwait, the organ transplantation program was reactivated in 1993. More than 37 renal transplantation from living donors were performed between 1993­1996. Other new steps included:

  1. Re-opening Hamad Al-Eisa Transplantation Co-ordinating Center in Kuwait in 1995.
  2. Follow up of 18 liver transplant patients, four heart transplant patients, and 58 bone marrow transplants patients. All these operations were done abroad.
  3. More than 98 cornea transplant have been performed in Kuwait.
  4. A computer program has been developed in order to connect Kuwait transplant center to the rest of GCC countries.
  5. A symposium about organ donation and a training course for co-ordinators of organ transplantation was held last year.


The committee discussed the obstacles to organ transplantation in the GCC countries and agreed that the following were the major factors:

  1. Inadequate public awareness of the legality of organ donation.
  2. Inadequate public awareness of the concept of brain death.
  3. Inadequately trained co-ordinators to approach families for consenting for organ donation.
  4. Unavailability of clear acts organizing organ transplantation in some of the GCC countries.
  5. Inadequate medical skills related to organ transplantation in some of the GCC countries.


The committee agreed upon organizing the first symposium on organ transplantation in GCC countries in Abu Dhabi (UAE) in February 1997. The committee also prepared a draft of a unified organ transplantation act awaiting the approval of the higher authorities on it. The suggested act includes the following:

  1. It is permissible to licensed medical doctors specialized in transplantation to retrieve organs from living or cadaveric donors and to transplant them into patients with intention of therapy according to the regulations and terms of this act.
  2. It is permissible to any legally adult person to donate or to put a will of donation of any of his body organs to save lives of patients in need. The consent for donation should be written and signed by the donor or next of kin It is also permissible to donate or to give will of donation among relatives or spouses provided the donors age is 18 years or above.
  3. Retrieval of organs from the body of the donor should only be performed after complete medical examination of the donor by an expert medical team, and discussion of all sequallae related to this donation with the donor.
  4. It is permissible to the donor to cancel his donation any time before the retrieval. According to this act, already retrieved organs cannot be returned to the donor.
  5. It is not permissible to any living person to consent for donation for a vital organ if the retrieval of such organ leads to death or permanent disability of the donor.
  6. It is permissible to retrieve organs from a dead person after documenting such death by a committee of expert medical doctors, provided that person did not express in writing his objection to organ donation during his life.
  7. It is permissible to retrieve organs from a brain dead person after documenting such death by a committee of specialized medical doctors, and there is no doubt that irreversible brain stem death has occurred.
  8. It is strictly prohibited to purchase or to sell human organs by any means. Medical doctors should not solicit or get involved in performing any organ transplantation related to selling or purchasing organs.
  9. Organ transplantation operations should be performed only in licensed medical centers in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) according to the regulations related to this act which should be issued by the Council of Ministers of Health of GCC.
  10. The Council of Ministers of Health in GCC will issue a directory of regulations of documenting brain death and of retrieval of organs.


Finally there is optimism that the GCC countries are moving towards better future in field of organ transplantation in order to reach self sufficiency.

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Correspondence Address:
Faissal A.M Shaheen
Director & Consultant Nephrologist, Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, P.O. Box 27049, Riyadh 11417, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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PMID: 18417925

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