|15 January 2012||
"延續‧愛 Our Hearts Will Go On - Organ Donation Promotion Program" promotes the importance of organ donation, correct common misconceptions, and collect registrations for the Centralised Organ Donation Register.
Thanks to numerous breakthroughs in various aspects of medicine, the life expectancy of both males and females has dramatically increased; however, as there is as yet no cure for diseased and dying organs, organ transplantation is currently the only solution.
Despite vigorous advertisements and campaigns by the government and different bodies to increase the social acceptance of organ donation, many people in Hong Kong are still reluctant to donate their organs after they die. This attitude may be influenced by the general belief in Chinese societies of the funeral ceremony.
In recent years, though the number of organ donations has increased, the supply is yet to meet the demand. This is because organ donation is often hampered by misconceptions. Misconceptions include “not getting the best medical care when accidents happen to me”, “I am too young /old to consider donating my organs”, “I want my body to be complete for my funeral”… These are common beliefs still held by the general public.
We recognise the need to recruit more potential donors to tackle the surging demand for organ transplantation. We also would like to help eliminating some unnecessary fears, concerns or worries that existed in society. Last but not least, as medical students this is something that we can do to contribute before we can really get our hands on the technical aspects of organ transplantation.
The project was divided into two phases. In the first phase, current students studying in HKU Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine were invited to participate and fill in a Organ Donation Card and be role models to demonstrate the importance of organ donation. In the second phase, we organised an advocacy campaign at the Pedestrian Precinct of Russell Road in Causeway Bay on January 15, 2012. Pedestrians were invited to fill in the Organ Donation Card. We also attended to their enquiries, which helped to clear any misconceptions.
For this campaign, we needed to liaise with various organisations and units (including the Hong Kong Police Force, the Lands Department, the Organ Donors Support Group, and the Centralised Organ Donation Register) to ensure the event ran smoothly. To increase people’s awareness on organ donation, we invited the mass media (such as radio, TV, and newspapers) to attend and prepared a press release. We were excited that members of the liver transplant team of Queen Mary Hospital; namely, Professor C.M. Lo and Professor S.C. Chan, came as our guests. And the Hong Kong Liver Transplant Patients' Association also provided assistance on that day.
It was a rainy Sunday, but that did not discourage the support of the general public. More than 230 registrations to the Centralised Organ Donation Register were collected. As one prospective organ donor mentioned, "I always wanted to register as an organ donor, but I never bothered to. This is really convenient and I'm glad I'm doing something meaningful!"
Media coverage of the event was satisfactory. On the next day, nine newspapers carried reports on our advocacy campaign. One of our team members, Philip, was even invited to promote organ donation at an RTHK programme.
We hoped this campaign can increase public awareness about the urgency of organ supply and transplantation in the territory. In future, we hope to collaborate with other student organisations and NGOs to promote the importance of organ donation. The target groups can also be extended to include people on the Mainland, where illegal organ trading is still a serious social issue. Therefore, let us work by "heart" together and to "carry on" the promotion of organ donation!
Angus Chan, Hewlett Chan, Daren Ching, Janice Choi, Philip Lee, Bernard Shum, Denise So, Ivan Wong, Jennie Yick and Gabrielle Yuen (MBBS, Year 3)
Please support the "延續‧愛 Our Hearts Will Go On - Organ Donation Promotion Program" at: http://www.facebook.com/ourheartswillgoon