MORE Australians received a lifesaving kidney in 2013 than ever before. Kidney Health Australia welcomes this week’s latest statistics from the Australian Government highlighting 2013 as a milestone year for deceased organ donations and a welcome improvement in living organ donations.
Last year, 1,222 Australians received an organ transplant due to the generosity of 391 deceased donors and their families.
Kidney transplants from deceased donors reached a new record in 2013, with a total of 645 Australians receiving the gift of life.
Overall, there was a10per cent increase in the number of deceased organ donors in 2013,according to the figures released by the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry(ANZOD) and the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority. Ms Anne Wilson, CEO Kidney Health Australia, said that whilst the statistics were promising, Australians can be doing more.
“Kidney Health Australia is encouraged to see the number of deceased organ donors continue to rise,but there is a long way to go,” Ms Wilson said. “There reality is that only about seven per cent of people on dialysis get a kidney transplant from a deceased donor each year.
“While the latest figures are positive, as of December 2013 there were still 1,076 Australians on the waiting list fora kidney transplant.
The national average waiting time for a kidney transplant is three and a half years – meaning many Australians have to rely on regular dialysis to survive,
which can have a dramatic impact on their ability to work, care for their families and travel.
“Australia needs to continue our national conversation about organ donation,” Ms Wilson said.
“Whilst it certainly is positive to see deceased donor numbers increasing,it is critical to also recognise the need to increase live donation figures.
“Live donor rates have been steadily decreasing since 2008, so it is encouraging to see that trend now reversing with 249livekidneydonationsoccurring in 2013 – a five per cent increase on 2012,” continue d Ms Wilson.
“Recent initiatives, such as the Federal Government’s Supporting Leave for Living Donors Scheme, is clearly achieving early results, despite the fact it has only been operating for six months.
Kidney Health Australia believes this highlights the positive impact that initiatives such as this can have, and therefore continues to advocate for further improvements to living donor policy.
“Kidney Health Australia urges anyone contemplating becoming an organ donor to discuss this important issue with their family,” Ms Wilson added.
Kidney Health Australia supports the reforms made by all governments to move to a single national Australian Organ Donor Register.
In particular, Kidney Health Australia congratulates the Australian Organ and Tissue Authority on its achievement in significantly improving Australia’s organ donation rate and believes further improvement will be realised in coming years.
Kidney Health Australia is a national health care charity with a vision ‘to save and improve the lives of Australians affected by kidney disease’. As the national peak body, Kidney Health Australia promotes good kidney health through delivery of programs in education, advocacy, research and support.
Source: Kidney Health Australia