Strange, but organ donors need approval of families

hilmi-organ-donoerPUTRAJAYA: People who have pledged to donate their organs should inform their family members to facilitate organ transplantation after their deaths.

Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahya said although they had pledged to donate the organs, the hospitals still needed the agreement of family members.

“In Malaysia, the organ donation rate after death is only 1.0 per million population (PMP) compared with South Korea with 9.96 PMP, United Kingdom with 21 PMP and Spain with 39.7 PMP,” he told a press conference in conjunction with the closing ceremony of the Organ Donation Forum here today.

As of Aug 31, some 394,809 people had registered as organ donors.

They comprised the Chinese (40.34%), the Malays (30.61%), the Indians (22.79%) and others (6.27%).

However, the actual number of organ donors after death was much smaller, with only 620 since the programme was launched in 1975.

“This gap is significant compared with the number of patients suffering from organ failure and who need to undergo organ transplantation,” said Hilmi.

As of Aug 31, more than 21,000 patients were on the waiting list with the majority being kidney failure patients, followed by liver, heart and lung patients.

Since 1975, a total of 2,047 organ transplantation surgeries were conducted involving the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Selayang Hospital and the National Heart Institute.

Organ transplantation is indispensable for kidney patients where the cost of haemodialysis per patient per year is about RM40,000 compared with the cost of kidney transplantation of RM30,000.