The country’s ongoing inflation and economic hardships has driven many Kenyans to the edge, forcing them to come up with unconventional ways to get money, such as selling human organs, with kidneys leading the list.
Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has stated that there is now a law in the country that authorizes the purchase of organs from willing sellers, in response to questions made by millions of Kenyans wanting to sell their organs, specifically their kidneys.
KNH confirmed in a statement dated Monday, June 20, that it has received hundreds of messages from people who want to sell their kidneys and want to know the costs, but that the activity is still illegal in the country.
In July 2019, the Ministry of Health established a department to guide the donation of body organs following a law that allowed transplants from the dead.
The department, National Blood Transfusion Services, and Human Organs Transplantation was formulated to lead the implementation of the Health Act 2017 and paved the way for people to make donations of their body organs for research purposes once they die.
“This will change how things are done in as far as transplants are concerned. This law makes it clear on the harvesting of organs and even makes it possible for people to consent to have their organs donated after they are dead,” the Ministry explained.
The law allowed competent individuals to write a will to donate their body organs or tissue after death. Such consent can also be given by a spouse, elder child, parent, guardian, elder brother, or sister in the event the person died without leaving a will.
The Health Cabinet Secretary was also granted powers to call for the donation of a body part in case the deceased relatives cannot be traced.
The Ministry of Health further formulated penalties for those who contravene the law. Those found culpable of breaching the law are liable for a fine not exceeding Ksh10 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both.
The formulation of the laws follows concerns raised by the United Nations over the increased illegal trade in human kidneys, livers, and tissues like the cornea.
The report detailed that the kidney was is in great demand because it is one of the major organs that can be transplanted with fewer risks to the living donor.