UAE: Sign up to be an organ donor and save lives

Three lives were saved within a span of few hours after the family of a two-year-old Indian boy donated his organs after he passed away.

The toddler Vivan Vijayan, who lived in Dubai, gave a new lease of life to three kids in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, hailed the UAE-based family’s humanitarian gesture and thanked them for their sacrifice.

Sending a note of thanks to the doctors who performed the surgery, one of the families whose child received the organ donation wrote: “Thank you so much for your efforts and kindness, we have no words to extend our gratitude to you. The Quran says that ‘saving a human is like saving whole of humanity and you have saved humanity so many times’.”

The organ transplant law was introduced in the UAE in 2016 and since then, doctors have been encouraging people to register and pledge to donate their organs in the event of their death.

“Organ donation not only saves lives, it keeps the society together and brings happiness to communities. The waiting list of children put on a painful process of dialysis is growing because there are not enough organ donations from the deceased, as it is not easy to get a perfect match,” said Dr Waldo Concepcion, head of Al Jalila Children’s Organ Transplant Centre and director of transplantation at the DHA, who has performed around 20 kidney transplants in a span of a year.

“We do not mutilate or deform the bodies when we do a transplant from a deceased. We do it very systematically and in a respectful manner. Organ donation in the UAE is done in the most altruistic way,” he added.

Teenager Pritvik Sinhadc — who got a new lease of life after he underwent Dubai’s first ever paediatric kidney transplant from a live donor — said he had become the UAE’s ambassador for organ donation. He is working on various initiatives to raise public awareness of such a crucial need.

Pritvik’s case was taken up by the office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who personally wrote to him and assured him that he would receive the best care possible.

“I can vouch that we can indeed live life after death and revolutionise the existence of others,” he said.

“I received a new lease of life via a brand-new kidney from my hero — my dad. My father had never been under the knife before — unlike me who has had multiple surgeries to remove near-malignant osteochondromas — and, thus, he reeled in pain. This is why deceased organ donation is so crucial… it can allow those who are suffering from chronic health issues to get the support they need.”

“In reality, each person who opts for deceased organ donation can help save eight lives, thereby ensuring that our loved ones continue to remain alive, and that we cherish their memories even after their deaths by donating their precious organs to those who otherwise won’t ever make it,” he told Khaleej Times.

Pritvik aims to collaborate and work further with Al Jalila Foundation, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the Dubai Government, to reach out to every individual and motivate them to sign up on hayat.mohap.gov.ae.

Pritvik has been speaking at conferences and working with the medical community to help communities embrace organ donation. He has also hosted over 20 talks on how every person can save lives.

What the law says

As per the UAE regulations, organ donation is only possible on cadavers of deceased or among living relatives up to fourth degree. Donors need to have expressed their interest in donating through the official means of registration and verification.

“We have a lot of potential donors but they don’t agree to donate from the deceased. We hope and wish they understand and mature and be upcoming to donate from their deceased loved ones and not just bury them with those valuable organs that can save multiple lives,” Dr Waldo Concepcion said.

How to register as a donor

There are 3 ways to sign up

>> Online on https://hayat.mohap.gov.ae/sign-in

>> By downloading the Hayat UAE app from iOS or Google Play Store

>> In person at Mohap facilities

Who can be a donor

UAE residents who are over 21 years old. Younger suitable donors will need their family members’ consent in case of death.

What organs can be donated?

As per international standards, eight organs can be donated to save lives. In the UAE the organs collected to date are: heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas

Nandini Sircar

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