More than 120 professionals from the field of health and other experts from thirty-three countries worldwide have taken part in the social awareness event of the EUDONORGAN project, an initiative directly launched by the European Parliament and led by the University of Barcelona, together with the Bosch i Gimpera Foundation and the DTI - TPM Foundation (Donation & Transplantation Institute), located at the Barcelona Science Park.
Under the motto "Why organ donation matters to us all?", on February 18 this forum gathered in the headquarters of the European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium) a wide representation of experts of the field of health, patients, NGOs, support groups and other collectives.
Organ donation matters to us all
The lack of organs is the main obstacle in the medical practice of transplantation, a consolidated and highly effective technique worldwide. Also, about a 10 % of the world population has access to a transplant and many patients die while on the waiting list for a compatible organ.
Improving organ donation rates, raising awareness among society and promoting training of highly specialized experts are the main objectives of the EUDONORGAN project, led by Martí Manyalich, lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona and director of the DTI Foundation.
In this session, Manyalich noted that "the project has trained and reached through social awareness actions 400-500 participants all over Europe". Later, expert Efstratios Chatzixiros, on behalf of Jose R. Nuñez (adviser on medical products of human origin service delivery and safety of the WHO), encouraged the project since "it should be a common responsibility for all stakeholders, the health authorities, professionals, patient associations, media, etc. to join forces" to promote organ donation. Expert Stefaan Van Der Spiegel (head of Sector, Substances of Human Origin, Unit B4, DG SANTE, European Commission), reminded that "the Commission has learned through the Action Plan the importance of a bottom-up approach to set the agenda by engaging professionals, administrations, politicians and the public opinion".
Luc Colenbie, co-organizer of the session and expert on health, organs, and bioethics, from the Ministry of Health in Belgium, noted that "due to the efforts of the Federal Government and the support of the legislation brought into force in 1986, Belgium is at the European summit on organ donation and transplantation. The government's objectives are to increase the donor potential, to ensure the quality and safety of recovered organs and to provide an optimal allocation of all available organs".
The initiative of the EUDONORGAN project received the support of Pisana Ferrari, a lung recipient patient and supporter of organ donation, and member of the Board of the Italian Pulmonary Hypertension Association, expressed her "pleasure to be able to offer our support in identifying patients to take part in it. We saw this as a unique opportunity for some of our pulmonary hypertension patients to learn specialized skills that they could take back to their countries to improve the situation there".
EUDONORGAN: from the European Parliament to the whole society
EUDONORGAN is a service contract awarded by the European Commission on the initiative of the European Parliament. This project, led by the UB, will cover training and social awareness needs on organ donation with an ambitious working program -training of instructors, social awareness, dissemination and assessment- aimed at professionals of the field of health, institutional representatives, managers, patients, stakeholders, opinion leaders and the media. Other partners of the project are the DTI Foundation - Donation and Transplantation Institute (Spain), Institute for Transplantation of Organs and Tissues (Slovenia), Institute for Transplantation and Biomedicine of the Ministry of Health (Croatia), the Italian National Transplant Centre (Italy), Dinamia Consultoria Social (Spain), expert on consultancy and assessment for health projects.