The Philippine Red Cross is undertaking a nationwide organ donation campaign in an attempt to extend and save the lives of those who are on organ transplant waiting lists. Health Department records show that as of March 2014, 100,215 people are waiting for organs, and most of those individuals are dialysis patients. PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said that very few Filipinos elect to donate their organs as compared to other countries. For example, Health Department records demonstrated that only 36 people had voluntarily donated organs during the past year; Spain, the world’s largest donor country, had 1,360 voluntary organ donations occur during the same time period.
The shortage of organs has affected rich and poor Filipinos differently. Wealthier citizens in need of organs often buy them on the black market, while those who cannot afford to do so simply die. Additionally, poor Filipinos often sell their organs; kidneys go for around $1,500, which is 20 times cheaper than what a kidney commands in the United States (minimum of $30,000).
The campaign will be a joint effort with the Philippine Network of Organ Sharing (PhilNOS) and the Health Department. Per an agreement with the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Red Cross plans to incorporate dialysis clinics in some of its chapters, so individuals can have access to dialysis services. Currently, kidney failure is one of the top leading causes of death in the Philippines.
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