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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 1 August 2006

144 people benefit from expanded human organ transplant law


Wider Organ Donation Law Gives New Lease of Life to 144 People
In the two years since the wider organ donation law came into effect, 144 people have received the gift of life.
69 people received a new kidney, 10 people have liver transplants, 5 people got a new heart and 60 people have their sights restored.
All of them have benefitted from 35 donors under the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA), 7 of whom died of accidents and 28 of non-accidental causes.
Since July 2004, HOTA has been extended beyond kidney to include liver, heart, and cornea. It is no longer restricted to deaths due to accidents. There were on average only 13.5 cadaveric kidney transplants obtained through HOTA per year between 1988 and 30 June 2004.
The change in HOTA has improved the situation and in fact has cut the waiting list for cadaveric kidney transplant by 10 per cent. In 2003, there was a peak of 673 End Stage Renal Failure (ESRD) patients on the waiting list. Currently, there are 605 patients on the waiting list. The waiting lists for the other organs are 13 for liver, 3 for heart and 18 for cornea respectively.
The living donor organ transplant programme has also received much support from the public. Since 1 July 2004, 51 local patients received kidneys from living donors and 10 local patients were transplanted with livers from living donors.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) hopes to see greater acceptance of living donor organ transplantation as an alternative to cadaveric organ transplantation. Organ transplantation remains the best treatment option for patients with organ failure.
The Ministry has put in place several initiatives to increase the living donor organ transplantation rate.
These include bringing in medical experts from other countries to review our living donor organ transplant programme, increasing professional, patient and public awareness of living donor renal transplantation and providing individualised counseling to ESRD patients and their family members.
We hope that these efforts will allow more people to benefit from living donor renal transplantation instead of having to depend on renal dialysis.
MOH would like to encourage Singaporeans to continue their support for HOTA. The generosity of organ donors and their families will go a long way in improving the lives of many people suffering from organ failure.

Source: Press Release 6 Jul 2006

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