The Philippines witnessed yet another event of national importance last February 28 as the country attempted to enter the Guinness World Record for Most Organ Donor Registrants in one site and multiple sites, within one and eight hours, respectively.
Under the branding “I’m a LifeLine”, the activity sought to gather as many Filipinos to pledge as organ donors through a simultaneous registration activity. The project aimed at promoting organ donation among Filipinos as a noble act of helping their fellow Filipinos in need of body organ.
This advocacy campaign is part of educating the people on facts about organ donation as well as the help it could give to the life of the recipient.
The campaign is a project of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Network for Organ Sharing (PhilNos), in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA).
There were a total of six sites nationwide for the mass organ donation sign-up, of which include Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Manila, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in La Union, Jesse M. Robredo Coliseum in Naga City, L. Mamba Gym in Tuguegarao, and Almendras Gym in Davao City.
The target: to beat the record set by Prakash Gurjar & Madadgar Parivar in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India in September 2013 for the one (1) hour-single site; as well as the eight (8)-hour single site record achieved by Indian National Students Organisation – INSO (India), at the Sir Chhotu Ram Stadium, Haryana, India, on December 1, 2013. The following recorded a total of 2,755; and 10,450 organ donor registrants for the one-hour and eight-hour –duration, respectively. Another goal is to set a new record for the most number of organ donor registrants in multiple sites for one and eight hours.
On February 28, 10AM, PUP-Manila was able to gather a total 3,548 registrants in one hour, while La Union had a total 2,978 signees – both sites beating the set record in India.
Other sites were able to enlist 1,134 donors (for Tuguegarao); 944 (Davao); and 788 (QC) in one hour. Naga has yet to finalize their final tally.
DOH Undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa said the campaign aims to intensify public awareness on the importance and benefits of the medical procedure. According to him, the ongoing campaign welcomes everyone who wants to make a pledge by registering at the established registration site. He also said that once listed, a lifeline identification card will be given to the potential organ donor.
He also said the campaign is meant to “institutionalize a registry for potential donors amid the rising demand for organ donors in the country.”
In a statement, Usec. Herbosa said, “Organ donation saves lives, and it is very important that every person has the power to save a life by becoming an organ, tissue or eye donor. It is a noble gift because you can give someone a second life. Organ transplant offers a better quality of life to chronic renal disease patients and I encourage everyone to register and become an organ donor and help save many lives. By having more organ donors in the country life-saving transplantations will be made possible for more patients every year.”
The successful conduct of the “I’m a LifeLine” project is evidence of the openness of the minds of Filipinos to organ sharing. For months, the lead government agency, DOH, has been strongly pushing for this project, with the assistance of partner agency, PIA in providing advocacy and information campaign to make sure that Filipinos understand the wisdom of this activity that would ultimately change mindset among Filipinos as far as organ donation is concerned.
PhilNOS Program Manager Dr. Antonio Paraiso said that being a LifeLine is leaving a legacy to the Filipinos who are given another chance in life. “By donating your organ, you extend life; you give life— and what is supposed to be of no use when one dies becomes something useful to others”, Paraiso said.
The “I’m a LifeLine” is among the projects of the government that seeks to actively engage Filipinos in the pursuit of better health conditions and services available to all. This is also in support of the Health Agenda of the Aquino administration which aims to improve the health of Filipinos through a universal health program implemented by the DOH. Among these programs are Kalusugan Pangkalahatan (KP) through a refocused Philhealth; construction and rehabilitation of, and support for public health facilities; and the attainment of Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6 (reduction of maternal, neonatal and infant mortality; eradication of public health diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and dengue). The program also aims to raise health standards through the upgrading and modernization of the facilities through public-private partnership (PPP).