Multicultural films to encourage organ donation in NSW

Date: Jul 18, 2014

Three films are being made to encourage people with multicultural backgrounds in New South Wales to consider organ and tissue donation. 

The fims will feature Mary Chan, Mohamed Taleb Hawcher and Mohammad Faran - three people who have received transplants and are sharing their story. The films will be available in Chinese, Arabic and English. The aim of the films is to encourage organ donation within all communities in New South Wales regardless of ethnicity, race, age, religion or language. 

NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said in a July 16 press release that at any one time there are approximately 1,500 on transplant waiting lists in Australia and one organ and tissue donor can make a difference to 10 or more people.

The films are being made as part of a diversity project by Transplant Australia, NSW Multicultual Health Communication Service and the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service. 

Organ donation in New South Wales

Organ and tissue donation can occur in two ways. The first is through compatible individuals donating an organ to a known recipient, these are known as living donations. The second is by making your donation preference known to your family and friends before you pass away. 

The Australian Government Donate Life site states that 1,122 Australians were transplant recipients in 2013. The donations were provided by 391 organ donors whose families granted permission for donation to proceed following their death. 

According to the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District site the only national register is the Australian Organ Donor Register. Individuals can record their status as an organ donor for transplantation after death on this register. This can be done by registering online, calling the registry or visiting a Medicare office. 

Dr Robert Herkes the state medical director of the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service (OTDS) said in a February 2014 press release that there was a 20 per cent increase in organ and tissue donations in NSW last year and there are only certain conditions that allow for donations to occur.

 "In Australia, the family will always be asked to confirm the donation decision of the deceased before donation for transplantation can proceed. Families that have discussed and know each other's donation decisions are much more likely to support organ and tissue donation proceeding."

It is important for your family to know your preference on organ donation so your wishes can be upheld if the situation arises. 

Organ and tissue donation can be difficult to talk about, however when you are considering or reviewing an estate plan it can be an important topic of discussion.