MANILA, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines is encouraging families to consider organ donation of deceased relatives, including those who have been declared medically brain dead, to help others in need of transplantation.
"Through organ donation, one deceased human being can potentially save and dramatically improve the quality of life of eight or more individuals," Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a statement on Saturday night.
The DOH also discourages incentivized organ donations, where living organ donors not related to the recipient are motivated by financial rewards. This system creates a risk for both the donor and the recipient, exposing them to further injury.
World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2017 show that deaths caused by various end-stage organ diseases involved up to 230,000 Filipinos.
"This may have been prevented by organ transplantation. Unfortunately, organ donation from brain dead patients remains dismally low in the Philippines," Duque said.
To heighten Filipino awareness on the benefits of organ donation, Duque said a presidential proclamation is being proposed to be issued designating the month of September of every year as "National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month."
The program underscores the Filipino spirit of bayanihan, or spirit of cooperation and community where those extending help do not expect anything in return.
Duque said the DOH recognizes the noble and altruistic act of saving a life through committing one's organs or tissues upon one's death.
"This can be done by signing up as organ donor cardholders and providing consent to organ donation. Indeed, organ donors are heroes of our times," Duque added.