Muscat – Oman Transplantation Society (OTS) launched a national media campaign to raise awareness on organ donation at W Muscat on Tuesday. The campaign aims to attract 100,000 organ donors to register on the ‘Shifa’ app in the first year of the campaign.
Dr Noreen bint Yousuf al Balushi, Consultant Hepatobiliary and Liver Transplant Surgeon and President of OTS, said, “The campaign targets all age groups through various media, and will hold events to raise awareness and spread the culture of organ donation.”
She added that during the first year of the campaign, OTS hopes to cover a large number of organ failure cases and build a special centre for organ transplantation.
Dr Noreen pointed out that there are more than 3,000 people on a wait list to obtain organs. “Unfortunately, the number of patients with organ failure is increasing in the sultanate, with most of them having no other option but to go for a transplant. Many die before a replacement organ becomes available.”
According to Dr Noreen, the low number of organ donors in the country encourages trafficking in human organs.
“OTS implements many programmes, events and activities to support organ transplantation, and to train medical and paramedical personnel by organising meetings, seminars and scientific conferences to inform them of the latest developments in the field of organ transplantation,” said Dr Noreen.
She called for the establishment of an integrated centre for organ transplantation to ensure sustainability of the organ transplantation programme, leading to improvement in the quality of related services in the sultanate.
Dr Nefine al Kalbani, head of Organ Donation Department in The Royal Hospital, informed that the Ministry of Health has so far conducted 24 liver and 325 kidney transplants. The number of patients awaiting kidney transplant and on dialysis is more than 2,300. “However, around 8,000 people have registered for organ donation after death through Shifa app.”
Dr Nefine further said that the ministry is now working on passing a law on organ transplantation, and preparing, training and qualifying human cadres in this field.
She emphasised the importance of education and raising awareness in the community about organ donation, “because organ transplantation can only happen when there is a donor, whether alive or brain dead, and this is an essential part of the success any organ transplantation programme”.