Published: Tuesday October 30, 2012 MYT 8:37:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday October 30, 2012 MYT 8:38:44 PM
Sports and entertainment personalities to be roped as ambassadors for organ donation
By ONG HAN SEAN
KUANTAN: The Health Ministry's Organ Donation Awareness Promotion Action Committee is identifying public personalities to help promote the act of pledging one's organs for donation.
Its chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the idea was to get sports and entertainment icons involved as they had many followers.
"We are currently in the process of identifying sports and arts personalities who are also well known for their social work to be appointed as organ donation ambassadors. We will forward 10 to 15 names to the Health Ministry to be considered," he said at the launch of the Pahang organ donation promotion campaign roadshow here Tuesday.
Lee said this was the committee's latest approach to encourage organ donation as the number of pledgers was only about 0.7% of the Malaysian population even though the campaign started in 1997.
"The awareness among Malaysians is improving and yet we have not breached 1%. From data made available until September 2012, the number of registered organ pledgers is 205,478. Our target is to get at least 210,000 pledgers by the end of this year," he said.
Lee said the lack of cadaveric donors was largely due to attitude, mindset, prejudices, misconception and even misconceived ideas of the public towards donating their organs upon death.
He added that from this month onwards, the committee would step up efforts to make organ donation a community-based effort by involving all levels of the public from non-governmental organisations to businesses, the Government as well as medical staff members themselves.
"For example, medical staff can be made aware that they can help promote the organ donation idea to an accident victim's next of kin," he said.
On the idea of an opt-out system for organ donation where the people are made donors by default, Lee said this was not considered yet as more could still be done with the current opt-in system.
"The important thing is we have to increase awareness first before the opt-out system can even be employed. I believe we can still go further with the opt-in system for now.
"Ultimately, it is the Government that must decide on whether to implement such a policy," he said.