MANILA, Philippines—A total of 17,856 Filipinos pledged to donate their organs to the Department of Health’s organ transplantation campaign during a one-day organ donor registration marathon that the DOH conducted last Friday.
The one-day event was simultaneously held in six sites across the country in a span of eight hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The number of registrants established a new world record for the Philippines for having the most number of organ donor pledges in eight hours in multiple sites, said Dr. Antonio Paraiso, program manager of Philippine Network for Organ Sharing (Philnos), which is under the DOH and was the event’s organizer.
However, the Philippine record has yet to be validated by Guinness World Records.
However, the Philippines failed to beat India’s 10,450 pledged organ donors in “eight hours in a single site.”
Still, Paraiso said he was happy with the result as he believes the feat will bring organ donation into the consciousness of Filipinos.
The six sites included the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Sta. Mesa, Manila, which notched a record 8,063 registrations; Quezon Memorial Circle, 1,270; La Union, 3,471; Naga, 1,532; Davao, 1,947, and Tuguegarao, 1,573.
Each potential donor received an organ donor card which they can place in their wallets and which specifies which of their organs can be harvested.
The DOH and Philnos also claimed to have beaten India’s record (2,755 people) of having the most number of pledges in one hour and in one place.
Two sites managed to surpass India’s record in that category—PUP and La Union.
At least 3,548 people pledged to be organ donors during the first hour sign-up, from 9 to 10 a.m., at PUP, while La Union had a total of 3,471 registrants.
“But I think we could have done better. For PUP alone, we have over 27,000 students 18 years old and older and faculty and staff of 3,000. Our more than 8,000 PUP registrants is roughly 1/4 of the potential donors. Almost 50 percent filled out the forms but only half showed up. Maybe they’re not really convinced about the purpose of our campaign,” he said.
The DOH and Philnos earlier said that the campaign was aimed at dispelling the negative perception that many Filipinos still have about organ donation.
Health authorities also intend to create a national registry of potential organ donors.
The registry already listed more than 5,000 nurses and doctors who pledged to become organ donors prior to last Friday’s registration campaign.
“The need for organ lifelines in the Philippines grows graver through time, with a total of 100,215 people in the wait-list for organ transplants as of this week. Through this event, we are able to secure more lives and lessen the number of patients failing to continue their journey while waiting for available organs,” Paraiso said in a statement.
Registrants were asked to give their consent to donations of vital organs, including kidneys, lungs, hearts, livers and pancreas, and even tissues such as corneas, bones and skin.
“By securing their stand as lifelines, every pledge garnered is regarded as a legacy. People will live on. A new heart can begin pumping for another, a pair of lungs can take breaths for more, and all other organs can start changing the lives of many. This is a celebration of life,” Paraiso said.