We refer to the letter, “Make it easy to pledge organs” (Sunday Star, Dec 1), and wish to thank the writer Ian Chai.
We regret Chai had to undergo such a frustrating experience while attempting to pledge his organs, a wonderful and humanitarian deed indeed.
As one can appreciate, car stickers, once displayed, remain there for a long time. Car stickers have been a popular and effective means of promoting organ donation awareness and it is indeed a pleasure to note Ian has responded so promptly.
Like all organisations, Institut Jantung Negara has to keep up with advancing technology and our telephone numbers have changed.
When a potential pledger calls, he is directed to the Transplant Coordinator and, in her absence or if she is engaged elsewhere, her handphone number is given to the caller for direct contact so that the caller's needs are attended to immediately.
We do have members of the public calling in to the Transplant Coordinator’s office to pledge their organs on the spot. This shows that Malaysians are indeed a kind and caring lot.
Organ donation is not new to the country as cornea transplants have been carried out since the 1970s and kidney transplants since 1975. But, unfortunately, over a period of 26 years up to 1996, we have had fewer than 10 cadaveric donors in the country.
The IJN has been involved in organ donation awareness activities since 1996 when it started plans for the heart transplant programme.
Concerted efforts from IJN, non-governmental organisations and others have resulted in the increase in pledges from 2,600 in 1996 to more than 60,000 now. There is a desperate need for organs and the concern expressed by Chai is viewed seriously.
The IJN welcomes the idea of organ pledges being incorporated into MyKad. This suggestion will have to be considered by the relevant authorities. If accepted, it would make pledging of organs very much easier.
In fact, it will be one of the best ways to increase awareness on organ donation. Our ultimate aim is that all of us should be aware of organ donation and that our family members be informed of our wishes as, ultimately, it is the next-of-kin who gives the consent for removal of organs and tissues from a brain-dead person.
Sr Ramayee Sinnasamy
Heart Transplant Coordinator
Institut Jantung Negara
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