(MENAFN - Arab News) The Kingdom is set to introduce a new program to encourage more people to donate their organs to the Saudi Center for Organ Transplant (SCOT), its director general Dr. Faissal Shaheen told Arab News on Monday.
Shaheen was speaking on the sidelines of the Fifth Saudi International Conference on Nephrology and Transplantation at the King Fahd Cultural Center (KFCC), which was inaugurated in Riyadh by Defense Minister Prince Salman on Sunday.
The four-day event is being organized by the Saudi Society of Nephrology and Transplantation and Prince Fahd Bin Salman Charity Association for Renal Failure Patients Care (Kellana).
"At the moment, the donation rate is five donors per million people, but we will soon introduce a new mechanism to attract at least 15 donors to a million," Shaheen said, hoping SCOT would reach its target within three years.
He said there is a strong need for increased awareness among people to donate their organs. He revealed that 40 percent of the 13,000 dialysis patients are on the waiting list for organ transplant.
He noted some 2 million donors have registered their consent for organ donation. However, he pointed out that their families also should cooperate with the authorities to harvest the organs from live or cadaveric donors.
"You should be willing to donate your organs, because one day you may be wanting for an organ for your own recovery from someone else," Shaheen said.
Referring to the conference, the director general said it is useful for both medics and paramedics in the treatment of renal patients in the Kingdom. "They would come to know the latest advances made in the medical field on renal diseases."
He commended the yeoman services rendered by the two main sponsors of this event. He pointed out that the Saudi Society of Nephrology and Transplantation is handling the scientific side of renal diseases in the Kingdom, while Kellana is focusing on the human element and how the such diseases affect renal patients and their families.
Regarding the international prize for research in renal diseases instituted in memory of the late Princess Sultana bint Turki bin Ahmed Al-Sudairi, Shaheen said this was the best posthumous honor given by the society to the late princess in appreciation of her magnanimity and philanthropy in looking after renal patients in the Kingdom. He said the benefits reaped by the people from this research would help her get more rewards and blessings from Allah.
He explained the SR 1 million prize would be given to the three top researchers in the field of treating kidney patients. "Findings could also be implemented in the Kingdom to suit the local needs of our patients," he said, adding that the first prize would carry a cash award of SR500,000, while second and third would fetch SR300,000 and SR200,000 respectively.
The regulations of the proposed prize would be worked out and announced well in time for people to participate in the program.
During a session on nephrotic syndrome on Tuesday, Dr. Hamad Al-Mojalli from the King Faisal Specialist Hospital said kidney disease is a widespread problem in the Kingdom. He stressed organizations should play a more active role to keep the disease under control by providing enhanced medical care and learning from medical studies. He suggested recommendations made at the conference on Wednesday should be sent to the concerned authorities for necessary action.