Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, Crown Prince enroll in organ donation program

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have registered in the organ donation program of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT), state news agency SPA reported Wednesday.

King Salman established SCOT, Saudi Arabia’s primary organization for organ transplants, in 1984 in order to relieve the suffering of patients with kidney failure. The number of patients with kidney failure has been rising in the Kingdom.

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Since then, the organization – previously known as the National Center for Kidneys – has worked to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and has given Saudis a platform where they can sign-up to become donors.

The center also emphasizes the importance of expanding the circle of organ donation to include all patients with end-stage organ failure and spread hope among those on waiting lists and whose recovery process depends on the transplant of a new organ such as a heart, liver, kidney, and lung, among others.

In March 2021, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved the human organ donation regulation during a virtual meeting chaired by King Salman.

The regulation, which was approved by the Shoura Council in September 2019, allows for the transfer, cultivation, preservation, and development of organs to preserve human life, protect the rights of those from or to whom human organs are transferred, license health facilities, define their responsibilities in relation to organ donation and transplantation, and prevent exploitation of the patient or donor’s need or trafficking in human organs.

A 1982 fatwa (religious edict) by the Senior Ulama Commission concerning organ donation and transplantation granted “the permissibility to remove an organ or part thereof from a dead person,” and allows for the donation of the organ, or part of it, to a living person.

The Enrollment of King Salman and the Crown Prince aims to encourage residents and citizens in Saudi Arabia to register with the SCOT, and in turn save the lives of patients depending on vital organ transplants to survive, SPA reported.

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