Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has launched a month-long organ donation awareness campaign to try to increase the number of people opting to donate the organs of loved ones.
With misconceptions rife, organizers are setting up information booths around Doha – at City Centre Mall, Lagoona Mall, Landmark Mall, the HMC Blood Donation Center and a roving information booth – to try to address concerns, including whether or not it’s acceptable in Islam.
Speaking to the Gulf Times, David Astley, chief of the tertiary hospital group at HMC, highlighted the challenge of the task:
“It is a very difficult conversation to have with a family following the death of a loved one, but this can lead to something good coming out of a tragic loss. It is an intensely personal decision for a family to give consent for such an operation, of course, but to provide the gift of life is a wonderful thing.”
The Head of the HMC Transplant Unit, Dr Riyadh Abdul Sattar Fadhil, meanwhile, says that demand for organs (particularly kidneys) in Qatar is high because of the country’s diabetes epidemic.
Many of Qatar’s residents currently travel abroad for these life saving operations, but Dr Riyadh emphasized in an interview with Gulf Times that the treatment offered by Hamad Hospital is “as good as anywhere else in the world.”
He also added that the prioritizing of organ recipients in Qatar is fair and transparent, with no one receiving preferential treatment on the grounds of race or religion.
The Ramadan awareness drive follows the opening of the Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation in January, and an announcement from the government that they are planning to introduce an opt-in system for organ donation on ID cards and driving licenses, which has yet to be introduced. Work is also underway to create an organ donation registry for Qatar.
What do you think should be done to increase the number of organ donors in Qatar? Do you think organ donation cards, or compulsory enrollment on an organ donor register, might be a good idea?
Credit: Photo by Mika Marttila