THE recent confiscation of brushes with pig bristles has regrettably raised other issues, including the question of non-Muslim organs being donated to Muslims.
The Health Ministry has issued a statement to clarify that our organ allocation system is totally based on clinical criteria and never according to religion, race, background or status.
In Malaysia, only one percent of our population – 372,526 at the end of 2016 to be exact – has registered to donate organs after death. The actual number of deceased donors last year was 39, which is a far cry from the number of organs required.
At the end of 2016, 40,000 Malaysians were seeking dialysis treatment nationwide. This is an alarming state. If the number of pledges could increase at the speed of the spread of the news regarding confiscation of the brushes, Malaysia has hope.
Organ donation should be a life-saving noble cause to be championed by all regardless of race, religion or social standing.
Those who are interested to pledge their organs can do so online at http://www.dermaorgan.gov.my.
It takes only a few minutes to complete the steps. The National Transplant Resource Centre also actively monitors its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dermaorgan and Twitter @dermaorgan, where all queries are answered promptly, including requests to change earlier versions of donor cards.
Malaysians at large, whether organ pledger or not, could also help in this cause by taking care of their health.
Fewer people with organ failures will lead to reduced need for donated organs and donors.
Therefore, I hope Malaysians will lead a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising and going for regular medical checkups.
CHEW HOONG LING
National Organ Donation Ambassador