Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Organ Transplant Summit

The First Philippine Organ Donation and Transplantation Summit kicked off recently in the Philippines focusing on the issues that the country is currently facing in the organ transplant industry.

Based on statistics, there 6,000 people who are currently in the organ waiting list, and only 350 will be able to get a transplant. Instead of dampening people’s spirits, this number inspired individuals and groups from private and public sectors to gather and seek to find solution for this predicament.

In this year’s first summit, Howard Nathan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gift of Life Donor Program was invited to be the keynote speaker. He is one of the pioneers of deceased organ donation and transplantation in the United States. He believes that it is now the time for the Philippines to create its own deceased donor program.

In his keynote speech,“Setting Up an Organ Procurement Office [OPO]: The Gift of Life Experience,” he shared his expertise as the pioneer of OPOs in the United States as well as to share a constructive framework that we can use to set up our own deceased donor program.

In the Philippines, on the other hand, we have the IPOD or the Integrated Program on Organ Donation Foundation Inc. It is a non stock, non profit agency mainly serving Metro Manila. IPOD is a world class primary deceased organ donation facilitating institution in the country and in the Asia Pacific Region.

Dr. Angel Joaquin Amante, President and Chief Operating Officer of the local initiative, the IPOD is all focused with what Nathan has shared. He also stressed that other countries have had a head start and that the country can also do and start our own deceased donor program.

Moreover, recovering organ transplant patient Violeta Tandoc shared a testimonial on the actual burden that a patient has to endure. She shared the most difficult part of her struggle was the financial aspect. She also mentioned where she has seek for financial assistance from institutions like the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (PCSO), the Department of Social Welfare and Development , and a number of generous senators and individuals who were possible sources of financial aid.


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