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Belgium scores high for organ donation

10:47 11/03/2015

In 2014 in Belgium there were 25.2 organ donors per 1 million inhabitants, the second best score of the eight countries that are members of Eurotransplant, the international network for organ exchange, reports De Morgen. Only Croatia scores better with 33.9 donors, but Belgium scores much higher than the Netherlands (16.1 donors) and Germany (10.5 donors), according to the latest figures from the Transplant Centre of the University Hospital in Ghent (UZ Gent).

Belgium’s high score has to do with its legislation which makes every resident a donor automatically, unless they explicitly request not to be. Those opposed to their own organ donation carry with them a written request, or have their wish registered at town hall, where it enters into a central database. The database is always consulted before the removal of organs or tissues.

Transplant expert Luc Colenbie is urging people to keep their automatic donor status. "The supply of organs will never meet the demand of all the people waiting for a transplant," he told De Morgen. "There have never been so many people on waiting lists for a kidney, for example. Last year, 87 people died while on the waiting list for an organ that did not become available in time."

In 2014, 878 patients were on a waiting list for a kidney, 187 for a liver, 89 for a heart, 82 for a lung and 70 for a pancreas.

Written by Robyn Boyle