Hayat Ambassadors being recognised in Dubai on Saturday at the UAE Organ Donation and Transplantation Congress. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE has achieved a 417 per cent growth over the past five years in the number of organ donors after death per million of population, becoming the world’s fastest-growing programme in organ donation, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported on Saturday.

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The figure for ‘Hayat’, the National Programme for Donation and Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissue, operating under the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), was announced on the sidelines of the four-day UAE Organ Donation and Transplantation Congress, which started on Saturday in Dubai.

The growth has been affirmed by the International Society for Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP).

Recent data from the Hayat shows that around 14,602 individuals have registered in the programme, 4,000 patients are on donor waiting lists, there have been 160 donors since 2017, and a total of 460 organ transplants have been performed, including 111 since the beginning of 2023.

Since 2017, the Hayat programme has seen tens of thousands of pledges and 582 organs transplanted which included 328 kidney, 199 liver, 16 heart, 26 lungs, and 13 pancreas transplants.

More than 52 different nationalities have participated in and reaped the benefits of the programme.

Congress agenda 

The Congress is bringing together more than 8,000 experts and specialists, both in-person and remotely. Organised by MoHAP, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the event will run from 27th to 30th January.

Representatives from various health authorities, government entities, and the private healthcare sector are taking part in the event. During the four-day scientific sessions, speakers will delve into various aspects of organ donation and transplantation, including the role of organ donation in mitigating chronic organ failure cases, innovative strategies to address challenges, the outcomes of organ transplantation, and how they contribute to enhancing the quality of life for recipients.

The conference will also look into ways to reduce the burden of chronic diseases and discuss the importance of education and capacity-building in the fields of donation and transplantation, as well as regional and international cooperation in this domain.

Additionally, the event will review experiences of certain countries and delve into the latest technological developments in organ donation and transplantation and will feature discussions on cutting-edge innovations like perfusion machines, organ recipient identification systems, and various aspects of care after a transplant.

Awareness campaigns

Abdullah Ahmed Ahli, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for the Support Services Sector at MoHAP, said MoHAP together with other health authorities are keen to foster a culture of organ donation within the community through launching community campaigns and organising international conferences and events.

“We will spare no effort to develop sustainable solutions for patients suffering from various critical conditions like cancer, heart disease, pulmonary failure, cirrhosis, and kidney failure,” Ahli added.

He highlighted that organ transplantation not only offers a path to full recovery but also significantly improves the quality of life for recipients.

Unifying efforts

Dr Rashed Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of the Healthcare Workforce Planning Sector at DoH, said: “Abu Dhabi is consistently strengthening its capabilities in organ donation and transplantation through collaborative efforts with partners across the emirates, operating within the framework of Hayat. This initiative aims to safeguard the health and well-being of communities, cementing Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading global healthcare destination.”

He added: “We also recognise the significance of unifying our efforts to advance the field of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. This necessitates international collaboration to broaden networks and databases of both organ donors and recipients, along with the sharing of knowledge and expertise among medical professionals. We eagerly anticipate that this crucial event will contribute significantly to realising these objectives.”

Dr Marwan Al Mulla, CEO of the Health Regulation Sector at DHA, said the available “state-of-the-art” medical facilities, exceptional healthcare environment, and other factors contribute to the “success and distinction” of the UAE in this “vital health field”.

Dr Ali Abdul Karim Al Obaidli, Chairman of the National Committee for Organ Transplantation, said the Congress has attracted an “elite” group of global experts and specialists, reinforcing the UAE’s standing and remarkable achievements in organ transplantation. He emphasised the importance of international cooperation, as the integration of organ donation and transplantation services aligns with WHO (World Health Organisation) principles on regional integration.