A survey among Hong Kong's youth population (aged 18 to 25) showed majority have not signed up to be organ donors. This is news that will further dampen hopes of thousands of desperate and dying patients waiting in line for compatible organ donors.  

The survey data, which was collected by an affiliate of Junior Chamber International Hong Kong, comprised of 580 participants.

The affiliate found that 84 percent of young Hongkongers have not picked up the donor form. Closely behind are those aged 46 and above, where 73 percent have not registered to be donors either.

Ironically, 90 percent of those polled agreed to give their organs upon death, yet only a third are actually registered. The South China Morning Post reported that most of the respondents said they did not have adequate information on organ donation procedure, on how to go about it, and what is involved in the donation process.

It is a sad commentary given that at least 3,000 patients are in the waiting list for organ donation, according to Department of Health statistics.

There are 200,000 registered organ donors. But according to the health department, many patients pass on before the matched organ donor comes.

The government, prompted by the low number of donors and high demand for healthy organs, has pledged to launch a publicity campaign in conjunction with non-government organizations to distribute organ donation forms and to raise awareness regarding organ donation, according to Hong Kong’s Information Services Department.  

Dr Ko Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health, hopes that wider dissemination of information regarding life and death issues will help increase organ donation registration. He has said that a large-scale event will take place at the end of this year.

He has also said that donation rate is low due to traditional beliefs of keeping one’s body intact after death, but despite this, many are becoming more open to the idea.

The department has organized Centralised Organ Donation Register (CODR) to make it convenient for willing organ donors to sign up. The donor will have to visit the Hong Kong Department of Health’s Organ Donation website and register online or download the form and send it by post or fax to the given address details found in the site.

The CODR’s purpose is to let the medical personal responsible for organ donation know that a patient has agreed to donate his/her organs and for the donor’s family to acknowledge the organ donation wish of their deceased. MIMS

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