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Action plan Government supports organ transplant measures

Paediatric heart surgeon Rene Pretre prepares for a transplantation in Zurich.


Federal and cantonal governments have approved the implementation of the “more organs for transplantation” action plan, agreeing on a wide range of priorities and measures to help counter the shortage of donated organs in Switzerland.

The number of people needing organs has been growing steadily over the past decade. Whereas there were 641 people on the waiting list at the end of 2003, the number had reached 1,274 by the end of 2013.

The number of deceased organ donors in 2013 was 110, an almost 15% increase over 2012, a statement noted on Thursday. But in spite of the fact that a number of organs can be transplanted from a single donor, and kidneys can be provided by living donors, Switzerland still has a significant organ shortage.

According to the study Swiss Monitoring of Potential Donors (SwissPOD), the potential number of organ donors in Switzerland is three times higher than the number of people who actually donate. And the number of those donating is currently below the European average, it found.

The goal of “more organs for transplantation”, first launched by the government in March 2013, is to increase the number of deceased donors to 20 per million residents by 2018.

At Thursday’s meeting, federal and cantonal governments agreed on several areas to be focused on, among them education of medical personnel in issues related to organ donation, quality assurance, the introduction of checklists to identify potential donors, improving the resources available in hospitals, and informing the public about the issue of organ donation.

The proposed measures should help optimise the identification and care of potential donors.

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