Thousands of people in the Philippines pledged on Friday to donate kidneys and other body parts after death as part of a bid to set a world record for organ donations, the health ministry said.
“If they meet an unfortunate accident and they are brought to a hospital and declared brain dead... then doctors will know what to harvest,” Assistant Health Secretary Eric Tayag said.
A “record” 3,548 people signed up for organ donor cards at one Manila university in the space of an hour in the campaign launched by the ministry, he added.
This overtook India’s one-hour record of 2,755, set in Gujarat in September last year for a Guinness World Record, Tayag said.
Guinness did not immediately certify the Manila donations.
The Philippine effort, however, failed to surpass India’s eight-hour world record of 10,450 people set in Haryana in December last year, Tayag said.
People signed up in six locations around the Philippines on Friday as part of the world record bid, the official said.
Each will receive an organ donor card that they can put in their wallets, which specifies what organs can be harvested, said Tayag.
The event was also intended to spread awareness and remove the stigma in the Philippines about organ donation, he added.
Organ transplants are a controversial issue in the Philippines with poor people sometimes selling their kidneys and other organs to wealthy foreigners in the guise of “donations”.
The government banned most transplants of Filipino kidneys to foreigners in 2008, but critics say it is still going on in secret.