Faissal Shaheen, Muhammad Ziad Souqiyyeh
Ann Transplant 2004; 9(1): 19-22
There are more than 29 countries that have membership of the Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation (MESOT) with more than 600
million populations. These include all Arab countries, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and countries of Central Asia. There are common features of organ transplantation in the Middle East Countries that include inadequate preventive medicine, uneven health infrastructure, poor awareness of the medical community and public at large of the importance of the organ donation and transplantation, high level of ethnicity and poor government support of organ transplantation. In addition, there is lack of team spirit among transplant physicians, lack of planning for organ procurement and transplant centers and lack of effective health insurance. Patients seek commercial transplantation most of the time. Patients on waiting lists for organ transplantation increase with time and there is a considerably growing gap between supply and demand of organs in the MESOT countries. Living organ donation is the most widely practiced type of donation in the Middle East and includes kidney and partial liver. Cadaver organ donation has a great potential in the Middle East. Nevertheless, this source is still not utilized properly due to the continued debate in the medical community about the concept of brain death and inadequate awareness of the public of the importance of organ donation and transplantation in many countries in this region.. There are three dominant and distinctive models for practice including the Saudi, Iranian and Pakistani models. The Saudi model includes the presence of a national organ procurement center as a governmental agency to supervise organ donation and transplantation. The Iranian model consists of renal grafts donation from the living genetically unrelated persons to the benefit of patients with end-stage renal disease. The Pakistani model is an interesting funding model for management of end-stage organ failure in the developing countries. We conclude that organ donation and transplantation are hampered with obstacles in the MESOT countries. Solutions need continuous work on many fronts. Local experiences can be implemented into new improved models that can help overcoming current obstacles.