2011 Organ Donations at Record High
16 January 2012 at 1:04 pm
More than 1000 Australian lives were saved or improved through organ transplants in 2011, the Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Catherine King has announced.
“In 2011, 1001 Australians and their families benefited from the legacy of 337 of their fellow Australians who last year became organ donors,” King said.
Releasing the 2011 Donation and Transplantation Performance Report, King said, “At the end of the second full year of the national reform agenda, one in five transplant recipients (or an additional 202) can be attributed directly to the increase in organ donors. In 2009, there were 799 transplant recipients compared with 1,001 in 2011,” King said.
The 2011 donation outcome represents a national organ donor rate of 14.9 donors per million population (dpmp). This represents a 30% increase on Australia’s dpmp rate over the past two years, up from 11.3 dpmp in 2009.
King said that, while the 2011 results are very encouraging, there is still much to do to continue to build on and sustain the increase in organ and tissue donation to ensure that more Australians in need are able to benefit from transplantation.
“As well as the national DonateLife community awareness program, the reform agenda includes a clinical network of specialist organ and tissue donation staff in 77 hospitals. They are working to improve organ and tissue donation rates and outcomes, providing specialised family support services and raising awareness in their clinical communities.
“The reform agenda’s Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program also made a very positive impact in 2011, providing the only chance for 23 Australians to receive a life-saving kidney transplant. This program highlights the generosity of Australians who, unable to donate their kidney to a loved one, enter into the program to donate anonymously to another matched pair.
“More Australians also became eye donors in 2011. Provisional data indicates that 1144 Australians donated their corneas in 2011 and 1730 Australians had their sight improved through corneal transplants. These are significant increases over the equivalent 2010 outcomes.
King acknowledged the contribution of all members of the DonateLife Network, as well as that of the eye banks and tissue banks, the transplantation sector and the many non-government community organisations to increasing Australia’s organ and tissue donation rates.
Anne Wilson, CEO of Kidney Health Australia says while the figures are pleasing she would like to see an increase in the living organ donation rate.
“We would also like some recognition of that in the form of reimbursement of verifiable out-of?pocket expenses,” Wilson said.
“Australians who do donate a kidney to their loved ones or relatives have the opportunity of being supported for any out-of?pocket expenses associated with living donations, and Australia should be following the standards set internationally in this regard.”
The 2011 Organ Donation and Transplantation Performance Report is available at www.donatelife.gov.au/the-authority/performance-reports.
The 2011 Report from the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry is available at www.anzdata.org.au.
For more information visit www.donatelife.gov.au.