The Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging families to consider organ donation of deceased relatives, including those who have been declared legally and medically brain dead, to help others in need of transplantation.
With the passage of Republic Act No. 7170, otherwise known as the Organ Donation Act of 1991, as amended by Republic Act No. 7885, organ and tissue donations from donors who have been declared brain dead has been allowed.
Human transplantable organs include the kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, intestines, and pancreas, in addition to human tissues such as eye tissues (corneas, sclera, etc.), bones, skin, and blood vessels.
“Through organ donation, one deceased human being can potentially save and dramatically improve the quality of life of eight or more individuals,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
The DOH also discourages incentivized organ donations, where living organ donors not related to the recipient are motivated by financial rewards. This system creates a risk for both the donor and the recipient, exposing them to further injury.
World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2017 show that deaths caused by various end-stage organ diseases involved up to 230,000 Filipinos. This may have been prevented by organ transplantation. Unfortunately, organ donation from brain dead patients remains dismally low in the Philippines.
To heighten Filipino consciousness on the benefits of organ sharing, a presidential proclamation is being proposed to be issued designating the month of September of every year as “National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month.” With the campaign slogan “Dugtong Buhay: Ako, Kabahagi Mo!” the program underscores the Filipono spirit of bayanihan where those extending help do not expect anything in return.
The DOH, through the Philippine Organ Donation and Transplantation Program and the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing, continues to sustain advocacy and educational campaigns on deceased organ donation.
“The DOH recognizes the noble and altruistic act of saving a life through committing one’s organs or tissues upon one’s death. This can be done by signing up as organ donor cardholders and providing consent to organ donation. Indeed, organ donors are heroes of our times,” the Secretary of Health concluded.