Lack of knowledge behind organ donor shortage hinh anh 1Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien gives organ tissue donation cards to registered donors (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - The lack of knowledge about organ donation is one of the main reasons leading to the shortage of organ donation sources, according to medical experts.

Public awareness of organ donation remained limited, even amongst medical workers, said Deputy Director of the National Co-ordination Centre for Organ Transplant Dong Van He.

A survey on medical workers’ knowledge about brain-dead patients carried out in 2015 at some hospitals in the northern mountainous localities found that more than 70 per cent of medical workers said brain-dead patients could recover.

Particularly, 44 per cent of students of the Hanoi Medical University also said that brain-dead patients could be saved.

This misunderstanding of brain-dead patients would have a great impact on encouraging and raising public awareness of organ donation from brain-dead patients, He told Suc khoe va Doi song (Health and Life) Newspaper.

“Brain-dead patients cannot be saved,” he said.

The Ministry of Health recently held a media campaign to raise awareness amongst both people and medical workers about organ donation, stating that donations from brain-dead patients are a valuable source.

Doctor Ly Van Lien from Bao Yen Hospital in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai said he himself was not well aware of organ donation and brain-death.

“After attending the campaign ceremony, I was updated with a lot of knowledge. I will register to donate organs after death. In the worst case, a part of my body could help save others. This is the most meaningful thing that I can feel,” he told the newspaper.

“I am from Dao ethnic group and people in my locality are very afraid of donating organs. Now I understand and will explain and encourage people in my locality to register to donate their organs after death,” he said.

Organ donation from a brain-dead patient could save the lives of many people who need organ transplants and in many cases, organ transplant was the only cure, according to He.

Paradoxically, the number of brain-dead patients due to traffic accidents amounted to tens of thousands each year but the number of donors was limited, he said.

The Hanoi-based Viet Duc (Vietnam-Germany) Hospital, one of the 17 facilities qualified to perform transplants, reported around 1,000 brain dead patients every year. However, only 26 donated their organs between 2011 and 2015.

If one person agrees to donate his or her organs, four or five lives can be saved. However, few families of brain-dead individuals agree to make the donation, often for spiritual reasons.

Organ donation is an urgent need to meet increasing demand in the current context. Over 16,000 patients suffer from heart, kidney, liver and lung diseases and more than 6,000 blind people await eye donations, according to the health ministry.

Doctors here have conducted 1,281 kidney transplants, 54 liver transplants, 16 heart transplants and eight bone marrow transplants since 1992, according to the latest figures.-VNA