by Deborah Condon
Kidney dialysis services are already close to capacity in many hospitals around the country and an increase in the number of kidney transplants is urgently required to help relieve the situation, the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) has said.
This week is National Organ Donor Awareness Week and proceeds raised will go towards providing support for patients on dialysis and those who have already undergone a kidney transplant.
"With the notable increase in the diagnosis of renal failure putting pressure on dialysis services, an increase from the annual average of 125 - 135 transplants to at least 200 is required to relieve the situation", explained Mark Murphy, chief executive of the IKA.
Last week the IKA warned that opportunities for organ donations were being lost and patients awaiting transplants were dying because staff in some intensive care units are reluctant to approach the families of potential donors.
It has called for the introduction of fully trained Organ Procurement Officers at trauma centres around the country. These officers would be trained in how to handle the sensitive and complex issues associated with organ donation.
The IKA has also called for the re-introduction of a Living-Related Transplant Programme to help adult patients on dialysis. This is where organs are donated by a living relative of the person to be transplanted. Seven such procedures have already taken place in this country in the last decade and the practise is relatively common in many parts of Europe.
During the week, 'forget me not' flowers will be on sale throughout the country for €2. Donor card keyrings will also be sold in Cork and Kerry for €2.
The IKA, in collaboration with the Irish Donor Network, has overall responsibility for the distribution of and promotion of the organ donor card in Ireland. The Irish Donor Network is a group of Irish charities and medical co-ordinators involved in organ and tissue transplantation.
Donor Awareness Week runs until Saturday, April 6.
For more information on organ donation, contact the IKA at 01 - 668 9788.
For more information on kidney disease and how dialysis works, click on
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