Health and Medicine

Students show heart in organ donation initiative

Image: Left to right Minister Ken Wyatt Nevin Jayawardena and UWA Vice Chancellor Professor Freshwater

In an Australian first, The University of Western Australia will trial a new online initiative aimed at increasing the number of people registering to become organ donors.

UWA students will be given the opportunity to consider registering as an organ donor through the University’s student online portal.

The StudentConnect portal, which students use to enrol and re-enrol, update their contact information, view exam timetables and study plans and register for public transport Smartriders and parking permits, will feature a link to the Federal Government’s Donate Life webpage.

One organ tissue donor can transform the lives of 10 or more people. In 2016 there was a 16 per cent rise in the number of deceased organ donors from 2015, and a 17 per cent increase in the number of lives saved thanks to an organ transplant.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said the University was proud to be the first university in the country to actively support efforts to increase organ donation in Australia.

“It is vital we raise awareness of the importance of organ tissue donation and continue to increase national registration rates,” Professor Freshwater said.

“With the Federal and State Governments making organ and tissue donation a national health priority, the University is pleased to join efforts to encourage more Australians to become a registered donor. Australia has a growing need for organ donors, so by continuing to offer the opportunity to register, our students could one day help to save someone else’s life.”

The pilot scheme has been running since December 2016, and already more than 600 students have used the link to learn more about organ donation.

UWA Student Guild President Nevin Jayawardena said registering to donate would make things easier for families during a potentially traumatic time.

“Many students are willing to donate but may not have taken the first steps to adding themselves to the register,” Mr Jayawardena said.

“StudentConnect generates a large amount of online traffic during the semester and hopefully this initiative can boost organ donor participation rates and in the future help some of the 1500 people waiting on the transplant list.”

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