Human organ trafficking in Africa
Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health raised concerns over the risk of illegal organ harvesting by some Nigerians seeking medical treatment abroad.
This worry was contained in a letter written by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, which reveals that some of the private hospitals in Egypt are major centres for this activity and citizens of the country are liable to fail victims due to the constant need to get qualitative health services outside the shore of Nigeria.
“Presently, Egypt’s prosecutor-general arraigned 41 suspected human kidney traffickers. The prosecutors gave the names of the complicit in private hospitals in Giza, Cairo, Egypt as follows: Dar al-Shefa in Helwan Cairo; Al-Bashar Specialist Hospital in Faisal Giza; Al-Amal Centre for General Surgery in Mauritenya Giza and Dar Ibn Al-Nafis Hospital, Giza.
“Kindly note and disseminate this information to doctors in the relevant specialities to be aware so that Nigerians will be circumspect while embarking on medical tourism in other countries,” the letter reads in part.
But this danger is not only for Nigerians but for all African countries especially migrants seeking to connect Europe using the illegal routes. The truth is that organ trafficking is a reality in many parts of the world including the Boko Haram ridden Northeast of Nigeria. The demand for organs is just so high across the world.
There is a legend in many of these countries where the activity is high such as South Africa, Libya, Mali, Egypt and most countries in the Sahel desert.
“You go to dinner with a good-looking stranger, go back to their hotel room or yours, have a drink, and pass out. The next thing you know, you are in the bathtub, naked, covered in ice, with a poorly stitched side, and a phone nearby with a note attached. The note warns you to seek emergency medical care right away.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) was reported to have obtained about 11,000 organs on the black market in 2010. And more of these are around conflict-ridden areas. More so, the huge profits from this trade make it attractive to all parties involved, as some people actually trade organs, especially the kidney to the traffickers.
In Africa, an average organ buyer spends around $150,000 to get major organs such as kidney among others. The willing donor gets $5,000 while the middleman known as “organ brokers” also gain more in the trade. The profits are huge, and money is a temptation many brokers and doctors just cannot resist.
At present, the price of a kidney in the black organ market goes for about $62,000. This could make someone or anyone give out or come for one of the two functional kidneys in a human body.
With Africa being ridden with many intra and inter-tribal conflicts, many of these organ harvesters have moved to their trade to the region. Hence, the need to be extremely careful while travelling or going on a medical trip to other countries.
There is really no real safe haven when it comes to human organ business. Everyone is at the risk of being a victim.