SEREMBAN: With only one in 20 Malaysians willing to donate their organs, a massive campaign will be launched soon by the Health Ministry to increase awareness on organ donation.
Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the campaign aimed to get more people to sign up as organ donors.
“It is sad because critically-ill patients have to wait for years to get a donor. We want people to know that we can save lives if they are prepared to donate their organs,” he told reporters yesterday after launching the third National Health and Morbidity Survey Scientific Conference: State Findings here.
He said that despite campaigns by the Government to educate the people on the importance of becoming donors, most were reluctant to do so.
To date, 120,838 people have pledged to become donors.
According to the National Transplant Resource Centre, 4,181 patients are on the waiting list for kidney, heart and lung transplants.
Statistics also show that one in three patients on the waiting list dies before a donor is found.
However, Liow said the Government had no plans to compel people to donate their organs, unlike Singapore which passed a law making its citizens automatic organ donors.
Liow said those who wished to become donors could enlist at any government hospital or clinic and was looking for ways to make it easier for them to do so.
He said the Cabinet had recently approved the need for a masterplan to help the increasing number of cancer patients and educate the people on the disease.
Liow said the National Cancer Management Blueprint would chart the ministry’s plan to deal with cancer patients till 2015 where ministry officers would educate people about cancer as most patients came for treatment when they were already in the advanced stages.
Liow also said that his ministry’s plans to get more females over 20 to go for mammograms and pap smears was also working as the percentage of women who went for mammograms increased from 3.7% in 1996 to 7.9% in 2006.
About 45.7% of women had gone for pap smear tests compared with 26% in 1996.