Manitoba to create new electronic organ transplant registry

Province will light Legislative Building green tonight to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation: Oswald

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday April 19, 2011

The province is investing $100,000 to create a new, electronic registry so Manitobans can easily register their wishes about organ and tissue donation, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"An organ and tissue donation can save or enhance more than 50 lives," said Oswald. "This centrally maintained, web-based registry will allow doctors and health professionals to easily access your record, quickly identify your wishes about organ donation and do their best to honour them."

Technical work will begin immediately to develop the registry. In the interim, the minister encouraged Manitobans to sign an organ donor card and make their wishes known to their families.

Organ donation cards used to be available on the back of the provincial driver's license. Now, cards are available for download on the Manitoba government website and the Transplant Manitoba website, at any Autopac dealer in Manitoba and on the back of the Manitoba health card.

"When comparing the periods between 2000 and 2005, and 2006 and 2010, Manitoba has seen a 76 per cent increase in kidney transplants, a 94 per cent increase in lung transplants, a 106 per cent increase in liver transplants and a 25 per cent increase in heart transplants," said Dr. Brendan McCarthy, medical director of the Transplant Manitoba Gift of Life Program. "This can be attributed to the ongoing investments made in Transplant Manitoba and the changes we've made to make organ donation easier for Manitobans."

To further raise awareness of organ and tissue donation, the minister announced tonight the Legislative Building will be lit in green, the international colour of organ donation.

"Manitobans are some of the most generous people in the world with their time and charitable contributions, but the gift of life is the ultimate example of generosity," said Oswald. "Please, talk to your families and make your wishes known so you too can give the gift of life."

Only one to two per cent of the population are able to be organ donors due to timing or health reasons. Last year, Manitoba had one of the highest organ donation rates in Canada at 15.4 deceased donors per million people. In the last five years, Manitoba has seen a 67 per cent increase in organ donation. Last year, there were 53 kidney transplants in Manitoba.

Today's announcements build on recent investments to increase awareness of and support organ donation including:

  • funding a first-in-Canada team of hospital-based, organ-donation specialists that works with hospitals, medical staff and students to increase organ donations, as well as providing medical care to patients who wish to have their organs donated and working with the families involved;
  • partnering with the Kidney Foundation of Canada - Manitoba Branch to establish a program to reimburse expenses for living donors who donate a kidney or part of their liver to a friend or loved one;
  • beginning to provide cardiac surgeries for left ventricular assistance devices, a bridge to transplant for some cardiac patients; and
  • introducing new processes to make it easier to share the gift of life through tissue and organ donation.

Once the registry is launched, the province will introduce a public-education campaign to encourage Manitobans to register.

Source: Manitoba Government

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