Famous doctor discusses organ transplants, Aswan center

Dr. Magdi Yacoub, a world-acclaimed heart surgeon, is disappointed in his country. Yacoub, who was born in Egypt but currently lives and teaches medicine in England, says that Egypt is one of the few countries in the world banning organ transplants.

Egypt has a complex set of laws regulating organ transplants, including prohibitions on taking transplants from dead people. Last year there was a controversy surrounding rumors that the parliament planned to ban organ transfers between Christians and Muslims. Many Egyptians believe that all organ transplants are banned outright.

“Strict legislation that addresses the issue of organ trade and punishes transgressors while regulating organ transplants could save the lives of children and other patients,” said Yacoub. The doctor also said that organ transplant must be carried out locally and should not become an international trade.

In response to a question on privatizing medical insurance, Yacoub said that comprehensive medical insurance was an international problem and stressed that insurance should cover all citizens. “Civilizations are assessed on the basis of how their nations are treated medically,” said Yacoub.

Yacoub said that the government’s efforts to counter the swine flu have so-far been acceptable, though he said that more international cooperation in the endeavor was important.

The renowned surgeon also announced that an international conference would be held in Aswan in January. Scientists from around the world who have conducted heart valve research will attend the conference, which is intended to support the Aswan Heart Centre. Yacoub has yet to start cooperation with Nobel-winning Egyptian scientist Ahmed Zewail, though Yacoub highlighted that Zewail is a member of the medical center in Aswan.

“The medical center in Aswan needs the support of Egyptians because it’s an immense project that serves Egyptians,” said Yacoub, noting that scientific research in Egypt is still at an infant stage and should catch up with achievements in the rest of the world.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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