A FOREIGN missionary doctor said Friday that the commerce of organs, particularly "kidney trade," continues worldwide.

Doctor Peter Bretan Jr., surgical director of transplantation at the Northern California Kidney Transplant Center, said kidney trade is usually rampant in countries with high level of poverty and over-populated.

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Bretan, during Friday's Kapihan sa Philippine Information Agency (PIA), said a team of doctors will be conducting a kidney mission in Davao City for the fourth time, through a partnership between Rotary Club of Davao West and the Rotary Club of Novato, California.

"As it currently goes, there still a huge ethical obstacles to overcome. My understanding is that it's still illegal in the Philippines but there is commerce here and in other countries; I believe in India and China," Bretan said.

"The donors are compensated with fixed moneys, in more developed countries the money they're compensated is a larger amount of money. What we know is that, compensation unfairly targets the poor and this still continues. The donor may get four to five thousand dollars but that is gone after the first year. After that, they have no medical care and any type of serious illnesses could lead to them losing their lives," Bretan said.

Bretan also advocated that kidney trade or any organ trade should be discouraged.

"We do want to decrease the people dying for not being in the waiting list or from not being able to find donors (but) we respect the health and the life of both patients, the recipients and the donors utterly. That cannot be sacrificed. If we can maintain that standard, I think that might neutralize the commerce and issues involved," Bretan said.

Bretan leads the team dubbed "LifePlant Team" which has conducted the "Rotary Kidney Transplant Missions" in 2004, 2005, and 2008 with Davao City as the project area.

The project started when Dr. Franklin Guillano, a kidney transplant surgeon who resides in the city, learned Bretan, his uncle, was also a transplant surgeon and is willing to come to the Philippines for missionary causes.

Bretan said operations have maintained a high-cost for more than six decades and what the volunteer doctors do is bring with them equipments and do surgery without pay. The Rotary Club pays for the hospital in which they operate.

The said project began in February 2004, and since then, a total of 11 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients were given the chance for longer lives through the mission.

Other than conducting operations, the missionary project has also given non-medical assistance. (JCZ)