16 Apr 2015
9 April 2015 – Organ and tissue donors save lives. It entails the donation of a still functioning organ or tissue of the human body from a living or dead person (the donor) to the patient in need of transplantation (the recipient) to replace the diseased organ which has terminally failed. All major religions in Malaysia accept organ donation.
Since the 1970’s, thousands of Malaysians have benefitted from Organ Donation, most of whom were extremely sick and have endured very long waiting lists. They range from children to the elderly. Sadly, despite the number of people who have benefitted from organ donation, Malaysia still have one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world.
Over the last two decades in Malaysia, the number of patients with end-stage organ failure has tripled. Currently there are 19,500 patients in the waiting list for organ transplant. Unfortunately, to-date, only less than 1% of Malaysians have pledged their organs and tissues.
As a member of the public awareness action committee on organ donation, the Malaysian Association of Public Colleges & Universities (MAPCU), is championing the Organ Donation 2015/16 campaign in collaboration with the National Transplant Resource Centre (NTRC).
This campaign is to raise public awareness on and to encourage Malaysians from various background and ethnicity to come forward and pledge for this worthy cause. We strongly believe that our youths should play an active role by taking the lead in organ donation among fellow Malaysians. Indeed, we are pleased to have eleven private education institutions participating in this year-long campaign. These institutions are (in alphabetical order), Asia Pacific University, Help University, INTI University, International Medical College, International Medical University, Nilai University, Sunway University, UCSI University and University of Nottingham (all in the Klang Valley), Penang Medical College (Penang) and Curtin University Sarawak.
For this campaign, our slogan is “PART OF YOU. ALL OF ME”. To us this is quite appropriate in that an individual can donate all his organs when he is gone but these can be used to save more than one other individual. Indeed, we have cases in which the organs of a young child have been transplanted to save as many as four or six individuals. This is a very powerful message that says that even a very young child’s organs can help to save the life of or improve the quality of life of adults.
Here are a few facts and figures about organ and tissue donation in Malaysia:
• Total number of Malaysian registered pledgers from 1997 until March 2015 is 289,303
• In 2014, total number of pledgers have increased by 42.63% (26,873 pledgers in 2013 to 38,330 pledgers in 2014)
• Number of Malay pledgers have increased by 51.24% (9,414 pledgers in 2013 to 14,425 in 2014), probably due to the Fatwa allowing organ donation
• In 2014, 56 actual donors have their organs transplanted (a 27% rise from 2013 total of 44 actual donors)
• In the first quarter of 2015 (1st Jan to 31st March) there are 21 donors.
The Chairman of the MAPCU Community Service Committee, Prof Ong Kok Hai of the International Medical University who is spearheading this campaign said “Organs can only be taken from deceased individuals if permission is given by the family of the deceased. Therefore, a very important part of this campaign is that individuals who have pledged their organs must inform their families which often not done. To remedy this situation, we are giving out a wrist-band with the words “Pledge, Share, Care and Donate” to individuals who have pledged their organs.”
“We want them to share with their families that they have pledged their organs so that the family members are informed of their decision and be even encouraged to pledge their organs as well. In fact, we want the pledgers to be proud of their noble act and tell their friends and the whole world of this. We want them to be champions of organ donation. We also want them to take good care of themselves so that they will live a fruitful, healthy and successful life before the time comes for them to donate their organs.”
This campaign would not have been possible without the financial support from the Khazanah-IHH Healthcare Fund provided by the Gleneagles-Pantai Hospital Group.