When every organ counts

Save more than one: Lee (right) and Dr Ong looking at models of the organs needed for donation.

There are currently 19,500 patients on the waiting list for organ transplants as of February this year,

However, the total number of Malaysians who have pledged their organs and tissues to date is barely 1% of the population.

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).

Mapcu is a member of the Public Awareness Action Committee on organ donation.

The campaign with the slogan, “Part of you. All of Me.” aims to drive home the message that organs from a single individual could be used to save more than one life.

It was launched at the International Medical University (IMU) Bukit Jalil campus.

Towards life-changing pledges: (From left) Claire, Dr Lela, Lee, Dr Abu Bakar, Ang and Dr Ong cutting a ribbon to mark the launch of the youth-targeted campaign.
Towards life-changing pledges: (From left) Claire, Dr Lela, Lee, Dr Abu Bakar, Ang and Dr Ong  cutting a ribbon to mark the launch of the youth-targeted campaign.

A video was screened to show what life was like waiting for a transplant while Claire George Lim explained how her decision to donate her daughter’s organs helped spread the message to others in her Sabah village.

Organ recipient Jimmy Ang shared how life revolved around the hospital before receiving his liver.

The campaign was launched by Mapcu chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, IMU president Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, IMU external affairs director Prof Dr Ong Kok Hai and NTRC head Datin Dr Lela Yasmin Mansor.

Lee said Mapcu hopes the campaign would raise public awareness and encourage Malaysians from various races to pledge their organs.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that Mapcu has organised this outreach event,” he said, adding that it was heartening to note more youth were pledging to become organ donors.

“The majority of pledges made last year were by those within the 21 to 40 age group,” he said.

Dr Ong said organs could only be taken from the deceased individuals with permission from their family.

“Therefore, individuals who have pledged their organs must inform their families,” he said.

A total of 11 private higher education institutions have come forward to participate in the year-long campaign.

Among them are Asia Pacific University, Help University, INTI University, International Medical College, IMU, Nilai University, Sunway University, USCI University, University of Nottingham Malaysia campus, Penang Medical College and Curtin University Sarawak.

A key element of Organ Donation 2015/16 is street campaigning — essentially walking the streets and directly bringing the message to the public rather than waiting for them to visit an information booth.

This led to an increase in the total number of pledgers from 26,000 in 2013 to over 39,000 last year.

In conjunction with this year’s campaign, wristbands will be given out to pledgers and T-shirts will be sold at cost price.

For details on how to become a donor, visit www.dermaorgan.gov.my

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