Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Organ Donation Campaigns: Perspective of Dialysis Patient's Family Members

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Organ Donation Campaigns: Perspective of Dialysis Patient's Family Members

Article excerpt


Malaysia is one of the countries facing a severe organ shortage. The Malaysian organ donation rate per million populations has been at very low levels compared to the high number of people waiting for transplantation. For example, in 2010 there were 15000 patients waiting for a kidney transplant, while the organ donation rates rec- orded only 0.48 donations per million populations (1). Many reasons are claimed to be behind peo- ple's reluctance to donate their organs in living or deceased donations. However, the lack of infor- mation regarding organ donation and transplanta- tion has been cited widely to be one of the most important aspects impeding the improvement of organ donation rates (2-5).

In the Malaysian scenario, earlier studies suggested that lack of knowledge of organ donation and transplantation is one of the main reasons, beside the lack of public trust, which make Malaysians refuse to be organ donors. Interestingly, although the country is comprised of multiple ethnic groups, the religio-cultural aspects were found to have a small and negligible contribution to peo- ples' reluctance to donate their organs (6).

To increase donation rates, most countries launched campaigns through different channels targeting potential donors. However, not all cam- paigns resulted in achieving the targeted goals. For instance in Australia, the national surveys revealed that there has not been any increase in people's willingness to donate two years after of launching the campaigns on organ donation, which ran be- tween 1987 to 1990 (7).

The differences among nations' cultures and reli- gions play a vital role in determining the method- ologies of the educational campaigns on organ donation (8). This notion also applies within na- tions, especially when the demographic profile of a country comprises many ethnicities and religions, as in the case of Malaysia. For instance, some studies showed that minorities have less knowledge of organ donation (9-10).

The interpersonal campaigns were found to result in higher rates of organ donation. Other than in- terpersonal campaigns, media campaigns were also found to result in higher donation rates (11). In Spain, for instance, which has the highest organ donation rates in the world, television was found to be the most influential channel that affects peo- ples' attitude towards organ donation. Other me- diums follow television in importance, namely press and radio, magazines and talks; while infor- mation delivered by health professionals comes in last (12). Feeley and Moon (2009) analyzed 23 dif- ferent campaigns, and found that while media campaigns can contribute to a 4% increase in or- gan donation, interpersonal campaigns account for a 7% increase. However, using both channels together resulted in a 9% increase in donations (11). This study aims at (i) analyzing Malaysian family members' (of dialysis patients) willingness to welcome organ donation campaigns, and (ii) determining the best methods in which organ campaign messages would be delivered effectively to the potential donors. These are achieved by analyzing the respondents' preferred channels of campaigns and the preferred campaigners in a family setting.

Materials and Methods

The attitudes towards organ donation of 350 Ma- laysian family members of dialysis patients cam- paign were surveyed. Three nurses were tasked to inform 175 dialysis patients to invite two of their family members to participate in the survey. The nurses work in three different dialysis institutions. The questionnaires were distributed in the three most widely spoken languages in Malaysia (Malay, English and Mandarin). The survey was conduct- ed between June and October 2013. We success- fully obtained feedback from all respondents be- cause most of them are close family members to the patients. We conducted this study with respect to the moral standards of scientific research and the ethical standards of the Helsinki Declaration. …

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