Record number of over 380,000 Belgians registered as organ donors
Tuesday, 07 January 2020
Organ donation and transplantation in Belgium works according to the principle of "presumed consent". Credit: Stad Gent
The number of Belgians that have registered to be a candidate organ donor at the end of 2019 was 380,967, according to figures from the National Registry for Organ Donation.
The high number is mostly thanks to the campaigns from the television programme ‘Make Belgium Great Again’ and the Beldonor-truck in schools, which informs children between the ages of 10 and 14 about the importance of organ donation, according to Luc Colenbie from the FPS Public Health, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Organ donation and transplantation in Belgium works according to the principle of “presumed consent”, meaning that every Belgian citizen over the age of 18 is presumed to have agreed to be a potential donor after their death, unless they, or their family, have formally or informally objected during their life.
A formal objection means a refusal to donate organs will be registered in the National Register. The figures show that the number of people who objected has remained largely the same over the past years. In 2002, 192,542 people formally objected to donating in organs, compared to 195,655 at the end of 2019.
However, the number of people who officially registered as candidate donors (meaning their consent is no longer presumed, but assured) increased from 27,449 in 2002 to at least 380,967 at the end of 2019.
There was an increase of 26,125 candidate donors compared to 2018, when 353,842 people were registered.
Despite the growing number of candidates, there is still a shortage for every kind of donor organ, resulting in people dying while they are on the waiting list to receive an organ, according to the FPS.
Every organ donor can save up to eight lives, and increase the quality of life of about 50 people.
Belgium’s organ transplant centres are in Aalst, Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, Leuven and Liège.