By Ophelie Maraval
In Western Australia more than 80 people are on a waiting list for organ donation.
Although Australia has one of the highest rates of successful transplants, it also has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.
Refusing to donate organs is often the result of miscommunication in families – as it takes only one person in the family of a donor to cancel the procedure.
This year in Western Australia, four parents have decided to make the best of a bad situation after their loss by donating their children’s organs.
“Donation is a lovely gift, you just have to concentrate on lives you are saving and not the life that’s lost,” said Samantha Fidler, Medical Scientist for the Transplant Department at Royal Perth Hospital.
The death of a person who is otherwise healthy and who consents to donates their organs, can potentially save between nine and eleven people.
Spain is the world leader for organ donation as people have to opt out if they do not wish to donate, but Australia as a nation believes donation requires written consent.
Miss Fidler said the recent donation campaigns have had a strong impact, but they need to be ongoing to be efficient.
Senator Fiona Nash, Assistant Federal Minister for Health, yesterday announced financial support to organ donation awareness campaign for community groups and organisations.
She said $463,000 in grants will be dedicated to education activities and raising awareness in communities about organ and tissue donation.
The goal is to get people to discuss donations and help them to make a decision with their family.
“Last year, 1,122 Australian lives were transformed through organ transplants,” said Senator Nash.
“The more we build awareness and start conversations about donation, the more we normalise what for some people can be a sensitive topic.”
For more facts and figures about organ donation click on this link.