Need for more kidney, organ donors pressed

The Philippines is in need of more organ donors especially for kidney, organ procurement specialists revealed during a forum on organ donation.

Dr. Maria Theresa Bad-ang, Organ Procurement Specialist of the Southern Philippines Medical Center said that in 2017, there are around 35,000 on-going dialysis patients in the country that highly need kidney transplant.

But the problem, according to her is that there are only 20 kidney transplant recipients.

“Everyday, there are about five patients that are starting up dialysis at SPMC. Or a total of 150 for a whole month,” Bad-ang said.

She added that there is a need for a kidney transplantation since dialysis will just bridge, and not improve the quality of life of the patient.

According to a previous report from the Department of Health (DOH) in 2016, Davao Region ranked number four with highest number of patients.

During the Muslim Forum on Deceased Organ Donation forum organized by the SPMC Human Advocate and Retrieval Effort, she said that they are eyeing for organ donationscoming from deceased people as a way to sustain the needs for organ transplants.

“Since living donors are highly discouraged, most especially buying it from them because it is illegal, we are looking into the deceased people since by law, it is allowed.” Bad-ang said.

She added that they are going to conduct the transplant from the deceased person, with consent from the parents and other authorized relatives, once the patient is already braindead but the heart is still functioning for 24 hours.

Bad-ang revealed that other countries are having this kind of transplant, so it is high time that the Philippines should start as well.

“That is why we are going to form a National Transplant Ethics Committee who will guarantee that the transplanted organs such as kidney is properly stored, including the qualified donors and recipients,” she added, “but before we increase our donors, we should check our system.”

Meanwhile, Francisco Sarmiento, National Program Director of the DOH Philippine Network for Organ Sharing under is proposing for a Presidential Decree proclaiming every September of the year as a “National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month” to educate further the public on how organ sharing can create a big impact for a healthy Filipino community.

“As I remember, President Rodrigo Duterte when he was still a mayor of Davao City, supports transplantation,” Sarmiento added, “So it is not that far that he still has that passion.”

The proposal according the DOH director currently under works, and is planned to be submitted in the lower house by either the end of the year or next year.