Organ donations can save lives
By:Zarina Abdullah
Date:
KCH-azlee organ-2508-rs 02

KUCHING: The establishment of an Organ Procurement Unit at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) here is expected to increase public awareness of the importance of organ donations in saving lives.

Located at the SGH lobby, it aims to promote and encourage more people to register as organ donors.

Sarawak State Health Director Dr. Ooi Choo Huck said that data obtained from the National Transplant Resource Centre showed that only 5,418 people in the state had registered as organ donors.

“So far, only seven people have donated organs in Sarawak since 2015. In the meantime, until today we have identified six who have made organ donation pledges.

“The number is very low compared to the number of patients who need organ transplants,” he said.

Dr. Ooi’s text of speech was read by Sarawak State Deputy Health Director (Medicine) Dr. Azlee Ayub at the launching ceremony of Organ Donation Awareness for the Sarawak Level 2022 and the officiating of the SGH Organ Procurement Unit office here today.

Dr. Ooi  added that in Malaysia as of June 2022, a total of 515,530 people had pledged to be organ donors since 1997.  However, the number of actual donors (after death) was only 774 people. Meanwhile, a total of 10,278 patients were waiting for organ transplants from donors after death.

“An organ and tissue donation after death will only be carried out after permission from the next of kin or close family. Therefore, if you have pledged to be a donor, it is important that this noble wish is communicated to the family first.

“By law, permission from the next of kin or close family must be obtained before organ donation can be done,” he stressed.

Dr. Ooi explained   there were other types of organ donations after death for the purpose of transplantation surgeries.

“A person who is confirmed to have died of brain death can donate all types of organs and tissues.

“In addition, patients who are confirmed to have died of cardiac arrest can also donate all types of tissues (including corneas, heart valves, bones and skin.

“Organ transplantation itself is a technology to save many lives and improve the quality of life of patients suffering from end-stage organ damage,” he explained.

Organ Donation Awareness Week is celebrated on August 11 to  August 17 every year

At the state-level, the campaign aims to empower the public with relevant knowledge and information.

Organ donation awareness promotion activities at exhibition booths and registration of organ donation pledges are held in hospitals and public places such as shopping malls, government departments and also in educational institutions throughout the year.

At the Sarawak General Hospital, various activities were held, including holding an exhibition at the lobby, opening a registration counter for organ donation pledges, organising a series of talk shows on local radio and television, forums and experience sharing sessions involving donors and organ recipients.

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