DonateLife Week 2019, happening this 28 July to 4 August, is an annual community awareness campaign to promote organ and tissue donation in Australia. During this week, Australias are encouraged to register to become organ and tissue donors and to have a conversation about it with their family and friends.
During DonetaLife week these past few years, events were held across Australia to encourage Australians to register on the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) and to tell their family and friends they want to be a donor. This year will be the same.
The Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) is an Australian government register that records individuals who have agreed to donate organs and tissues in the event of their death. This register is administered by Medicare Australia. The AODR was established in 2000 initially using date from state-based driver's licenses. For many years, driver's licenses included a box to tick for those who wants to donate their organs. But starting 1 July 2005, the AODR has allowed a legal consent to be recorded. Existing registered donors, whether from their driver's licence or separately, were asked to re-register when this was introduced, giving consent rather than just indicating an intention.
Currently, only one in three Australians have joined the AODR despite 81% believe registration of donation decisions is important. Registration is important and so is having a conversation about it. Thus, DoneteLife Week.
In 2018, nine out of 10 families agreed to donation when their family member was on the donor register. Consent for donation was given in 7 out of 10 cases when the family had prior knowledge of their loved one’s wishes. This dropped to 5 out of 10 families agreeing to donation when the family was unaware of their wishes.
More than 1,400 Australians are today on wait lists for a life-saving or life-transforming transplant. That is why it is very important for people to know more about donation. So if you are willing to one day save lives by becoming an organ and tissue donor, please register and discuss your decision with your family and friends.
For more information about DonateLife Week 2019 and organ and tissue donation, visit donatelife.gov.au.