Central Register Set Up To Facilitate Organ Donation

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The Centralised Organ Donation Register (CODR) was launched today, making the organ donation system more user-friendly to the public and more effective in realising donors' wish of lighting up other people's lives after they had passed away.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of CODR today, the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow said organ donation saves lives of patients who are waiting for organ transplant. CODR provides an easily accessible means for individuals to voluntarily register their wish for organ donation.

"We cherish the noble act of organ donation and will consider ways to promote greater societal recognition of it,"Dr Chow said.

To call on a wider support from the public, principal officials including the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary, the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Justice and the Secretary for Food and Health had taken the lead to sign the organ donation cards and register their wishes through CODR.

"The setting up of CODR is only part of our promotion efforts on organ donation. The ultimate goal is to create an atmosphere in the society which recognises voluntary organ donation as something commendable and should be the norm rather than the exception,"Dr Chow said.

Also officiating the ceremony, the Director of Health, Dr PY Lam, said that for people with organ failure, organ donation was an irreplaceable source of life and the greatest gift to their family.

Results of the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance Study carried out by DH in 2007 indicated that about 70 per cent of the respondents were willing to donate their organs after death as compared to 28.5 per cent and 36.8 per cent in 1992 and 1994 respectively.

Dr Lam said that about 70 per cent of those respondents who objected their family members to donate organs would not do so should they know in advance the wish of their deceased family members to donate organs.

"As such, that decision to donate one's organs after death should be made known to one's family so that the wish to save other's lives can be respected,"he said.

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The CODR enables the health authorities to identify prospective organ donors accurately even if they do not bring along their organ donation cards or informed their family members in advance.

From now on, people who wish to donate their organs after death can register by filling in the organ donation registration form online or send it to DH by mail or by fax. The public can also amend or withdraw their registration through DH.

Dr Lam added that apart from the CODR, other means of organ donation registration were still in use.

"A newly designed and more durable organ donation card has also been produced to facilitate prospective organ donors, and that an extensive publicity campaign would soon be launched to promote CODR in the community,"Dr Lam noted.

Echoing Dr Lam's remarks, the Chairman of the Hospital Authority (HA), Mr Anthony Wu, said CODR was to make it more convenient for prospective donors to voluntarily register their wish and for such wish to be more readily realised.

"Transplant coordinators can swiftly make arrangements for organ donation so that more patients could benefit,"the Chairman of HA,"he added.

President of Hong Kong Medical Association (HKMA), Dr Tse Hung-hing, who also attended the ceremony, said HKMA welcomed and support the development of CODR.

Dr Tse said information of some 45 000 organ donors kept and computerised by HKMA since 1994 would be transferred to CODR upon the consent of the donors concerned through HKMA's initiative drive entitled "Operation Man Shing".

He stated that HKMA's registry system would still be running for at least one year but called on members of the public to register at CODR instead of the HKMA registry.

"However, HKMA would continue its organ donation campaign in the community in the coming years,' he said.

Organ donation cards and registration forms can be obtained at public and private hospitals, Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Donation Centres, Health Centres of DH, premises of HKMA, tertiary academic institutions, various non-government organisations and private companies.

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