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A group of activists has launched a campaign on social media platforms to encourage organ donation after death in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi: A trio of activists have launched a social media campaign to encouraged organ donation after death in the UAE.

Launched with the slogan, #MyOrgansAreASourceOfHope, the campaign is linked to the Hayat App, which works like a virtual organ donor card. Introduced in 2018 by the Ministry of Health and Prevention’s National Programme for Organ Donation, Hayat aims to organise the process of organ and tissue transportation, transplantation and storage.

“We are aiming to register 5,000 people in Hayat by during October,” said Dr Saif Darwish, campaign coordinator and community and public health specialist.

Organ transplant law

The UAE has long allowed organ donations, but deceased donor transplants were first authorised in the country in September 2016, under the Federal Law No.5 of 2016 regulating the transplantation of human organs and tissues.

Dr Darwish explained that the new campaign targets residents of all age groups. For instance, in order to attract children aged 6 to 18 years, a group of competitions will be run, including short story-writing, drawing, and photography. For residents between in the 18-35 age group, posts and information will be shared on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. There will also be a number of podcasts held. For residents aged 35 years and older, interactive awareness sessions will be organised in collaboration with community institutions.

How it works

“The campaign content will be shared in English Arabic, as well as in some South Asian languages. We also haven’t overlooked the religious queries regarding organ donation, so a group of religious scholars from different religions will be enrolled to list the virtues of organ donation. In this manner, we hope to reach out to all communities, and increase the number of registrations in Hayat,” the doctor and activist explained.

“The campaign is inspired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who depicted how the Emirati character should be on social media platforms. He added that it should represent Sheikh Zayed and his manners in its interactions, and reflect the knowledge, culture and elevated manners of the UAE,” said public health specialist, Badria Al-Harami.

Double-edged weapons

“Social media platforms can be double-edged weapons. That is why it is very important for us to use them for the benefit of our country. We, as both social media activists and doctors and public health specialists at the same time, have a duty of serving the community, and we are always ready to serve the causes that serve the community,” Dr Al Harami added.

Safa Srour, social media activist and community health specialist, added that the project aims to highlight just how much difference one organ donor can make. “[By donating organs, a single donor] can help save the lives of seven persons through two lungs, two kidneys, the heart, pancreas, and the liver. He can also enhance the lives of at least 75 persons through the different tissues that can be donated,” Srour said.