News ID: 129675
Published: 0329 GMT October 26, 2015
By Fatemeh Shokri & Atefeh Rezvan-Nia
The rate of organ donation from brain-dead persons has witnessed a significant growth over the past few years in Iran in view of growing public awareness, said Katayoun Najafi, the head of Health Ministry's Transplant and Hard-to-Treat Diseases Department.
"More than 1,000 patients suffering from kidney failure received an organ from those pronounced brain-dead in the year to March 2015, showing a 46-percent increase year-on-year," Najafi told Iran Daily.
Najafi said the rate of kidney transplant from brain-dead persons showed a 56-percent rise during March 21-Sept. 23, 2015, compared to the figure for the same period year.
"About 2,700 kidney transplants from deceased donors were recorded during March 21-Sept 23, 2015," she said.
Najafi added 605 liver, 14 lung, 82 hearts, 8 pancreases, and 7 intestines transplants were registered during the same time as well.
"Between 5,000 and 8,000 citizens are declared brain dead in Iran each year. This is while the family of only 50 percent of them consent to organ donation," she said, adding 700 deceased organ donors were registered in the year to March 2015 in the country.
The official said lack of data has restricted speedy access to organ donors.
"Agreements have been signed with medical centers, and universities to identify organ donors across the country at the earliest," she said.
Najafi added 200 centers have been set up to identify potential donors and another 53 centers have been launched for increasing the supply of organs for patients on the waiting list.
She expressed satisfaction with the low cost of organ transplant surgeries and the availability of organs.
"We have not imported organs to meet the needs of our patients," the official said, adding based on international law pertaining to medicine, both receivers and recipients of organs must have the same nationality and live in the same country.
Najafi said the same law was also ratified in Iran about a year ago.
"The reason for ratification of the law was to prevent trade in organs, which is both against medical ethics and human values," she said, explaining that prior to the enforcement of the law, foreigners came to Iran to sell or purchase organs in large numbers.
She said Iran is among the few countries wherein organ donors are paid.
Najafi said the government expanded insurance coverage to include medicines used by organ receivers about a year ago.
"However, patients are still suffering from fluctuations in the price of medicines, which will be overcome in the near future in collaboration with the Food and Drug Organization," she said.
The official said giving consent for organ donation is a very tough decision for family members of a person who has been declared brain-dead. "However, it is a life-saving decision for those suffering from organ failure."
She said a ceremony called 'Nafas' [breath] is held annually in Iran to pay tribute to the family members of organ donors which is also attended by organ receivers — whose identity will remain unknown forever.
Noting that 84 percent of the donor families live in poverty and require financial support, Najafi said an association called 'Iranian Association of Organ Donation' has been established to support families of organ donors.
Resource: Iran Daily