Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 18, 2008

Getting more to donate organs

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:42 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: There were only 25 organ donors last year. That is why health authorities are planning to spend RM2 million this year to get more people to pledge their organs.
The National Transplant Resource Centre is planning to revamp its call centre to make it easier for donors to contact it, said its chief transplant co-ordinator, Datin Dr Lela Yasmin Mansor.
It is also recruiting additional staff.
There are plans to employ a director of promotions and a director of communications.
Dr Lela said the centre would also place advertisements on organ donation to create greater awareness of its importance.
“We will also be going to schools to educate children on organ donation.
“With the co-operation of the Education Ministry, we plan to hold competitions to gauge their perceptions and views on the donation of organs,” she told the New Straits Times.
Dr Lela said information kits on organ donation would be prepared for distribution to school-children and adults.
Last year, the authorities harvested three hearts, five livers, two lungs, eight heart valves, 16 corneas and five bones from 25 brain-dead patients.
In 2006, there were also 25 organ donors who donated 13 kidneys, a heart, six livers, a lung, 16 heart valves, 19 corneas, three skin implants and six bones.
Between 1976 and last year, 206 people donated 435 organs and tissues.
Kuala Lumpur Hospital Ne-phrology Department head Dr Ghazali Ahmad said there was a need for a dedicated full-time national co-ordinating organ transplant team for the programme to be successful. At present, those on the team are volunteers.
“Their weekends are spent going around holding talks, workshops and group sessions with community leaders and the public on organ donation.
“They even try to get the families of organ donors to speak on why they decided to donate the organs of their loved ones.”
He said when there were organ donors, these volunteers swung into action by going to the hospitals to harvest the organs and bringing them back.
Often, it was the same surgeons who performed the transplants.
“These are dedicated people who sacrifice being with their families to promote and do organ transplants to save lives,” said Dr Ghazali, adding that it was not easy for them as they had other jobs to do in hospitals.
The New Straits Times also learnt that the records of patients on the waiting list were not regularly updated, making it difficult to contact them.

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