Art programme honours tissue donation to save lives

Thursday, 2016-11-17 11:52:14
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An exchange with organ donors. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO—An art and exchange programme was held in Hanoi on November 16 to underline the profound humanitarian implications of tissue and organ donation in saving lives, a noble gesture and a symbol of human kindness.

Held by the National Coordination Centre for Organ Transplants at the Ministry of Health and Vietnam Television (VTV), the annual programme has been broadcast live on VTV channels since 2014 under the theme Khi su song duoc se chia (“When Life Is Shared”).

It is also a call to the community to sign up to donate tissue and an expression of gratitude from the health sector to donors who volunteer to donate part of their bodies while they are still alive to help bring more hope to patients in need.

Speaking at the opening, Deputy Minister of Health Le Quang Cuong said that organ transplants are important achievements for the health sector in treating people with serious diseases.

Many cases of organ failure could be fixed with donations, as transplants are the last effective treatment for patients with organ failure, Cuong affirmed.

To date, Vietnam has seventeen health facilities qualified to perform tissue and human body part transplants with modern equipment and professionalism reaching international standards.

Since the first successful kidney transplant at Military Medical Hospital No. 103 in 1992, as of June 15, 2016, Vietnam has carried out 1,281 kidney transplants, 54 liver transplants, sixteen heart transplants, eight marrow transplants, one combined kidney and pancreas transplant and one heart and lung transplant.

According to statistics, the need for organ and tissue transplants in Vietnam is fairly large. The country has tens of thousands of people with chronic renal failure in need of kidney transplants.

Last July, medical staff at Military Medical Hospital No. 103 saved the lives of four patients thanks to a multi-organ transplant from a brain-dead person. (Photo provided by the hospital)

Regarding liver transplants, in some major hospitals in Hanoi alone, there are over 1,500 patients in need of such transplants. Currently, there are also more than 300,000 people with corneal diseases in need of transplants, in addition to thousands of people awaiting heart and lung transplants.

However, the scale of supply is still small, mainly due to inadequate awareness about tissue donation. In particular, propaganda about tissue and organ donation after brain death is still limited.

Moreover, the lack of information on counselling and tissue donation registration systems and on a national poses challenges for the health sector.

With the motto “Communication work must take the lead for the mobilisation of tissue donation,” the Coordination Centre has organised meaningful propaganda campaigns to encourage community participation in this activity.

In addition to the abovementioned TV series, the Chung tay vi su song (“Joining Hands for Life”) programme in 2015 mobilised more than 1,400 people to register to donate their organs after death. Most recently, the programme’s 2016 version, held in Ho Chi Minh City, recorded over 600 registered donors, bringing the total number of registered organ donors after death and brain death up to 6,000.

Communications activities among social communities and religious institutions on social media have also promoted tissue donation, thereby changing people’s perceptions, attitudes and behaviours in favour of active participation in tissue donation.