Transplantation centre launches portal
Jeddah, April 8, 2009
The Saudi Centre for Organ Transplantation (Scot) has launched a website – thedonor.net – to serve as a portal for information and coordination between kidney donors and potential recipients.
“We appreciate the initiative of the Saudi group who designed this pioneering website and other communication means to serve as a forum for exchange of information between kidney donors and their recipients,” said Dr Faisal Shaheen, chairman of Scot.
“This will lead to better coordination and matching of donors and their beneficiaries,” he added.
Dr Shaheen also noted the support of the government of Saudi Arabia for its backing of the law governing organ donation based on the idea of bartering organs. The scheme has led to greater possibilities of a kidney patient to look for a donor outside of his or her family while using the kidney of his relative for someone who needs it.
Seifallah Sharbatly, director-general the portal, said: 'We realised the importance of the need for such a project some time ago, and worked to implement it.
“Now, we have launched the first website of its kind in the world, and hope it would contribute to increase the number of kidney donors in Saudi Arabia, where donation rate among relatives is very high compared to other countries.'
He added: 'Organ donation was restricted to first and second degrees relatives; the law was amended to apply the idea of exchanging instead of paying money for donation.
“As this would encourage the donation because it would create greater opportunities for the patients to get a suitable kidney from a non-family donor.'
Engineer Hattan Turki, the executive director and developer of “thedonor.net' explained that the project is based on the principle of exchanging kidneys between donors and recipients.
“The normal process of matching donors and patients has for a time been a long and complicated process,” he said.
“We have developed this site and other means of communication and registration in order facilitate the seamless coordination between donors and recipients, to make the matching process easier.
“This is the first project of its kind in the world and is a public service initiative, which is why we were careful not to favor in doctor or hospital. By going online, we also hope to reach a greater number of people, and hopefully ultimately benefit more patients in the long run.”
Site preparation took three months, and advanced communication means owned by a Saudi website developer, which are easily used in various hospitals in Saudi Arabia, including the electronic voice recognition technology, were exploited to ensure proper communication among site users.
'In the first phase, the site aims expand organ donation activity in Saudi Arabia. In later stages, the project aims to target more countries around the world,” Turki added.
“The site has been tested for about three months under the supervision of the Saudi Transplantation Center. The site is easy to use and formative without causing any kind of fear or dread.'
According to the project's guidelines, a patient needs to register his name and his blood type in addition to other information in the online registration page of the site. After registration, a project staff will contact them to confirm the registration and to complete their data.
Patient then registers all information of his donor that does not match with him. The project officials coordinate between them and Scot to match donors and recipients, hence benefiting both.
The donor does not donate to a patient unless a donor for his patient is available at the time it is needed.
In cases when blood types match, both parties are contacted to make sure of the blood types and the intention to exchange donors. After that, each donor visits the treating physician of the kidney recipient for testing tiss