Organ donors to get special recognition at Hong Kong cemetery

Board which runs Tseung Kwan O facility offers to scatter ashes in garden of remembrance and add name to plaque in bid to lift declining organ donation rate

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 June, 2017, 8:18am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 June, 2017, 8:17am

Organ donors are being given special recognition by a Hong Kong non-profit group in a bid to lift the declining donation rate.

The Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries, which runs three cemeteries in Hong Kong, said residents who donated their organs could from July 1 apply to have their ashes scattered in the garden of remembrance and their names engraved on one of 360 slots on a plaque in its Tseung Kwan O facility near Yau Tong, Kowloon.

In a city that had seen a worrying downward trend in organ donations, society would need more such measures to educate and raise people’s awareness of the issue, Hong Kong Kidney Foundation chairman Dr Lui Siu-fai said at a ceremony on Saturday.

“There have been only around 15 organ donors so far this year, which is a substantial decline from last year’s 45,” he said. “This is worrying.”

Hong Kong’s rate of organ donation is among the lowest in the world, according to a Legislative Council study which reported only 5.8 donors for every million people in 2015.

The rate is around a seventh of those in countries such as Spain, which had 39.7 donors per million people, and Croatia, which has a rate of 39 per million.

There is greatest demand for kidneys, with more than 2,000 people on the waiting list as of December 2016. The average waiting time was 51 months in 2015, according to the Legco study.