Spain leads world in organ donations

SPAIN has topped the global rankings for the number of organ donations in 2014, lending further credence to the reputation of the country’s healthcare system as one of the best in the world.

And the number of donors during last year was nearly double that of the European Union average.

A total of 4,360 deceased organ donations were carried out in Spain last year, beating the previous record of 4,279 in 2013. The country also registered 36 donors per million people, far outstripping the EU average of 19. Spain even beat the much larger USA (26 per million people) in terms of organ donations.

“We are at record highs, which means we can assert once again Spain is the world leader in donations and transplants, thanks to the people’s cooperation and the dedication of health professionals, (and thanks to) the National Health System,” said Alfonso Alonso, Spain’s health minister.

Of the transplants performed in 2014, 2,678 were kidney, 1,068 were liver and 265 were heart transplants. The figures – released this week by the National Transplant Organisation (ONT) – reinforce the decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to adopt the Spanish model for organ donations in many Latin American and European countries. Countries that have not performed well in terms of deceased organ donations, such as Ireland, are looking to replicate the Spanish model.

“The key component of the Spanish system is specialist doctors and nurses involved in organ donation throughout the healthcare system,” Professor Jim Egan of Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland told the Irish Times newspaper. “Other countries like the UK and Australia have replicated that and invested in that area.”

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