by Morinville News Staff
Albertans will soon be asked if they wish to register to be an organ and tissue donor when renewing their driver’s licence. The move is the next step in the government’s plan to increase organ and tissue donor rates in Alberta, rates the government says have dropped nearly 40 per cent over the past decade.
“Becoming an organ and tissue donor is one of the greatest gifts you can give,” said Health Minister Fred Horne in a release Monday. “Every individual who consents to donate may save up to eight lives and improve the quality of life for up to 75 more, and that’s why we’ve worked with registry agents to ensure Albertans will have the opportunity to register as a donor at registry agents across the province.”
Albertans will have the opportunity to register their intent to donate organs and tissue when they renew or apply for their driver’s licence or identification card in the coming weeks.
More than 4,100 Albertans have registered their consent to become donors since the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Registry launched online at the end of April.
The government cites Canadian Institute for Health Information data for 2012 to show the need for more organ and tissue donors. According to that date, Alberta reported there were 23 heart patients, 67 lung patients, 106 liver patients, and 309 kidney patients actively waiting on transplants during that calendar year.
The addition of using registry agents to assist in the process of increasing organ and tissue donors is a move Doug Griffiths, Minister of Service Alberta, applauds. “By letting Albertans register their consent to donate at registry offices, we expect to increase donation rates in Alberta,” Griffiths said in the same release. “By the end of June, about half of registry agents will be on board, and all registries can provide the service before next April.”
The government says the Alberta Organ and Tissue Donation Agency will co-ordinate and support the work of donation organizations, promote public awareness of organ and tissue donation and work with Alberta Health Services and health professional associations to educate the public and health care professionals about organ and tissue donation. The agency will also manage the registry, encourage its use and monitor and report on Alberta’s performance in organ and tissue donation.
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For more information visit https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Pages/OTDRHome.aspx.