Brazil, a World Leader in Transplant

Brazil has the world’s largest public system of organ transplants. By the end of the year, nearly 11 thousand operations will be performed by the Federal Health System. To encourage the donation of organs, the Brazilian Ministry of Health launched a campaign, December 14, which will be transmitted by television, radio, and magazines until January 9.

“The campaign helps, because it is always reminding people of the need for a solidary act,” affirmed the Minister of Health, Humberto Costa.


Brazil is second only to the United States in the number of transplants.


Compared with 2003, the number of transplants performed this year grew 27.2%, and the number of organ donors, 19.88%.


Even so, there are more than 60 thousand people waiting on line for transplants.


According to Costa, the aim is to eliminate the line waiting for cornea transplants and to halve the lines waiting for bone marrow and organ transplants by 2007.


Another Campaign


“Give someone a new lease on life. If you are a donor, tell your family.” This is one of the phrases that appeared on posters in the previous national donor campaign a few months ago.


Using the slogan “Contribute life. Be an organ donor,” the campaign’s aim was to shorten the waiting line for transplants.


Costa says that the average number of donors per capita in the population is half of what would be acceptable in a country with the dimensions and needs of Brazil.


“Today in Brazil we have a reasonably advanced transplant system, which can give people confidence that no mistakes will be made in diagnosing brain death, much less that there is any evidence of organ trafficking in our country,” he affirmed.


The Ministry’s goal is to eliminate the waiting list for corneas by 2007 and reduce the line for bone marrow and solid organs, such as kidneys, hearts, and lungs, by 3% in the first year, 6% in the second, 9% in the third, and 12% in the fourth.


Kidneys and corneas are the organs most sought after on the Ministry of Health’s unified waiting list. 29,381 people await kidneys, and 21,975, corneas. The state with the largest number of people on the transplant waiting list is São Paulo, followed by Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro.


The campaign’s principal orientation, based on current legislation, is for people interested in being donors to communicate this decision to family members. Currently, even though people declare while they are alive that they desire to be donors, the family has the final say.


Brazil is the second largest transplanter of organs in the world and has the largest public transplant program in the world. 92% of the procedures are totally underwritten by the Federal Health System


Agência Brasil
Translator: David Silberstein

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