HMC campaigns to boost organ donation in Qatar
14 Jun 2017 - 11:41
By Fazeena Saleem | The Peninsula
Give the gift that lasts a lifetime – register to become an organ donor.
Visitors to malls across the country during the evenings of the Holy Month of Ramadan has choice to go to one of the organ donation stands and booths to learn more about organ donation. Those who are interested, can also register as a donor.
Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is raising public awareness about organ donation and is asking the community to consider giving the gift of life and register as an organ donor. This is part of HMC’s annual organ donation campaign, which started on the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan, and will run until the end of the year in various locations around Qatar.
An organ transplant can be a life-saving procedure. It can also significantly improve the quality of life for someone with chronic organ failure. These life-saving organs come from deceased donors, who have pledged during their lifetime to give their organs to someone in need. A deceased organ donor can save up to eight lives. It is also possible to donate a kidney or part of the liver while alive. Qatar offers kidney and liver transplantation programmes managed by a team of highly skilled professionals.
The campaign will run at various locations around Qatar including 12 shopping malls staffed by Qatar Organ Donation Center (Hiba) staff. Booths have been set up in City Center, Villagio Mall, Safari Mall Abu Hamour, Grand mall, Al Meera in Al Thumama, Al Meera in Al Mansoura, Quality Hypermarket in Bin Mahmoud, Quality Hypermarket in Al Hilal, Quality Hypermarket in Al Khor, Lulu Hypermarket in Al Maseela, Lulu Hypermarket in Al Gharaffa and at the Al Khor Mall.
At these places public will be able to find out more about becoming a registered organ donor, what it entails and its benefits, as well as having their questions about organ transplantation answered. They will also be able to register as a donor on the spot and receive a donor card.
The organ donors registry has more than 190,000 potential donors and it aims at increasing it to 230,000 within this year.
“We need more donors to register in Qatar so nobody has to face losing a loved one while they are waiting for an organ. Self-sufficiency in organ donation as a society cannot be achieved without community solidarity,” says Dr Riadh Fadhil, Director of Hiba.
“In Doha, we have a team of highly skilled professionals working in organ donation and transplantation. We have state-of-the-art facilities and provide a safe and compassionate service, in contrast to the commercial transplantation done abroad that carries high mortality rates and the risk of serious complications.
“Under the Doha Donation Accord, we make sure we look after the donors and their families. For living donors, we provide health insurance for life, as well as covering any loss of income due to working days missed during the operation and recovery. We also honour our donors for giving this precious gift to someone who badly needs it during an annual ceremony. A deceased donor’s family receives the support of our Social Service Department and our government covers all hospital expenses,” he added.
Dr Fadhil and his team have briefed more than 400 HMC staff members, who will be involved in the upcoming campaign, with the messages that needed to be conveyed to the multi-cultural society. This means they will be able to support members of the public to make a decision about becoming an organ donor and in their native tongue, in most cases.
Jean a long term resident has registered as a potential organ donor and said, “This is my way of saying thank you to Qatar. It’s my choice to help someone in need and make them live if I’m going to die.”
Matias Noel, a Pilipino residing here for six years, registered as a donor at the booth in City Centre and said, “Our lives are temporary. By donating organs we can help someone live after our death, so I decided to register myself.”
Also a Ramadan Voluntary Blood Donation campaign is being held besides the National Organ Donation campaign.
Both campaigns were officially launched recently by HMC and the Al Faisal Without Borders Foundation (Alf) at the City Centre. The two campaigns are now in their sixth year. The joint campaign has achieved remarkable success over the past years, succeeding in attracting a large number of blood and organ donors.
The Blood Donation Campaign aims to sustain voluntary blood donation, maintaining sufficient stock of blood and blood products to meet Qatar’s healthcare requirements by encouraging the public to donate blood.
The total number of blood donors reached 26,000 last year.
Siddiqa Al Mahmoudi, Medical Manager of HMC’s Blood Donor Center, affirmed that the blood donation campaigns, launched in Ramadan each year, contribute to meet the blood stock target for all blood groups. She highlighted HMC’s relentless efforts and opined that the community in Qatar is increasingly becoming blood-donation conscious.