|Patients run hemodialysis at Thai Nguyen Hospital. Many Vietnamese refuse to donate their body parts despite the huge demand in the country. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI (VNS) — Demand for body organs for life-saving transplants in Viet Nam is high but supplies are low. This is because hundreds of people with terminal ailments - or their relatives - refuse to agree to donate vital body parts, such as heart, kidneys or liver.
This was revealed by Health Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien at the launch of the Viet Nam Society for Encouraging Body Organ Donation and the Viet Nam Organ Transplantation Society last Friday.
Tien said there were about 6,000 people suffering chronic kidney disease who needed a kidney transplant to stay alive; about 1,500 patients waiting for a liver transplant and about 6,000 waiting to undergo a cornea transplant. Tien said the failure to be able to use body organs from dying patients, including many road-accident victims, was due to low awareness by the general public.
"Every year, about 1,000 people are brain-dead in hospitals, but their families decline to offer body organs of the deceased for transplants."
The Health Minister said organ transplant societies could play a vital role in raising awareness of the need for donations.
She called for authorities at all levels, media agencies and civil society groups to participate.
There are 14 health facilities capable of performing organ transplants nationwide.
Many of Viet Nam's organ transplant skills had been recognised as being on a par with international practices, Tien said.
The nation's health sector has so far conducted 1,011 kidney transplants, 37 liver transplants, 11 heart transplants, one pancreas transplant and 1,401 cornea transplants. — VNS