Mohammed El Mashty (left), Senior Consultant at Oegan Transplant Department, HMC, and Muneera Al Mohannadi, specialist in Gastrology and Liver. Shaival Dalal
DOHA: The need for a long-term programme to help raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and address people’s misconceptions was stressed by experts on the sidelines of Pan-Arab Liver Transplant Society Congress yesterday.
The number of people who have signed as deceased donors has reached 4,000 following a recent campaign by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
However, a shortage of donors remains and experts suggest that awareness of organ donation should begin from schools to remove misconceptions.
“Society should be educated and it cannot be done through one campaign. People should accept the need for organ donation, it’s a difficult task, especially in an Arab society,” said Dr Muneera Al Mohannadi, Specialist, Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Hamad Medical Corporation.
“We have to educate people from young age to raise their awareness of the need for organ donation. It should begin from schools,” said Dr Al Mohannadi, suggesting that people who have benefited from organ donations should come forward and share their experiences with the community.
She said the country has latest technology, experienced staff and all facilities to carry out organ transplants but the absence of enough donors has put many patients on the waiting list.
Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation has a very good record. It provides safe, high quality services which can be compared to international standard and is accredited by United Network for Organ Sharing, a private, non-profit organisation in the US that manages Qatar’s organ transplant system, according to experts.
There is a waiting list for organ transplants for Qatari citizens and non-Qataris.
This is a distinct feature of Qatar compared with other neighbouring countries. All procedures related to organ donations and transplants in Qatar are free for all patients.
Dr Mohammed Al Mashty, Senior Consultant and Anaesthetist said that the community’s awareness of organ donation is important mainly due to religious misconceptions.
“There is lot of misconceptions about organ donation, we should overcome them. We have all facilities in Qatar but lack donors, therefore, we must encourage the community to come forward and become donors. It should be done among both Qataris and expatriates,” said Dr Al Mashty. “A campaign alone is not enough to convince people,” he said.