Education can result in more young people in Hong Kong joining organ donor register

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 February, 2017, 5:00pm
UPDATED : Monday, 13 February, 2017, 10:28pm

I think solutions can be found to the low organ donation rate in Hong Kong.

Traditional Chinese beliefs account for many people not joining the organ donor register. It is a deep-rooted superstitious belief that the body should remain intact after death. It is difficult to counter and change these beliefs, and it is made more difficult by the lack of education.

There is also a lot of apathy, with some people being laid back about registering. I think the problem will get worse without more education on the issue. Without a proper understanding, many people do not appreciate the importance of being organ donors and how it can save lives.

The government should include organ donation in the curriculum in both local primary and secondary schools. This means that young Hongkongers can get a clear grasp of the importance of registering as donors from an early age. The government could also launch a publicity drive to raise the awareness of all Hongkongers. This would result in more people signing up and more lives being saved.

The government could encourage the public to join the organ donation register and then allow them to claim a tax reduction. Also, families who join the register would be at the top of the list if one of their relatives needed a transplant.

A few months ago, an alumnus of my school died from heart disease. Although he got the heart transplant, he had waited too long, which complicated his condition. Finally, he passed away aged only 20. He should have had a chance to live a full life, but that chance was taken away from him, because there are not enough people in the organ donor register.

The government needs to recognise that the low organ donation rate in Hong Kong is a worrying issue and more policies should be enacted to encourage Hong Kong people to join the organ donation scheme.

Ivan Lo, Shek Kip Mei