Dr Fadhil speaking during the release of statistics of the organ donation campaign during Ramadan, at Fahad bin Jassim Kidney Center yesterday. Kammutty VP
By Fazeena Saleem
DOHA: The number of people who have registered as organ donors in Qatar has increased significantly as a result of a campaign held during Ramadan, said a senior official yesterday.
The number has increased by seven times, with 16,606 people registering as donors during the campaign at the City Centre Mall over 40 days. The campaign in 2012 received 2,500 donors.
“However the serious shortage of organs and the gap between the number of organs donated and the number of people waiting for transplants remains high,” Dr Riadh Fadhil, Director of the Qatar Organ Donation Centre (Hiba), told a press conference yesterday.
In Qatar, 70 people are waiting for kidney and 14 for liver transplants. All people who have signed the registry have signed as diseased donors from 88 nationalities aged between 18 and 89 years.
One donor can save the lives of several people and the more people pledge to donate their organs and tissue after their death, the more people stand to benefit. “One woman who signed as a donor in 2012 died and her lungs, heart, kidneys and liver were donated to five people from Qatar, India, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and another Arab country,” said Dr Fadhil.
People keen to donate organs can sign the registry at the centre near the Women’s Hospital.
Two people have to witness their registration as the pledge is considered an organ donation will. Details of the donor are kept in an electronic record and the person is given an identification card. However, once a death takes place, details are checked in the records. The team at the centre also approaches families of people who haven’t registered. “People can expect a team approaching them when someone dies in their family. We know it’s a difficult time for the family. But we try to change a tragedy into saving lives,” said Dr Fadhil.
Kidneys and liver can be transplanted in Qatar. Other organs and any organ that cannot be matched to any patient here are offered to patients in Saudi Arabia. Eighty-six kidneys have been transplanted since 2010 and four liver transplant surgeries performed in past one year. Qatar is making arrangements to introduce pancreas transplant by next year and there is zero need for heart or lung transplant in the country, he said. The Peninsula