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Organ donor awareness week postponed due to Covid-19

The Irish Kidney Association (IKA) has taken the decision not to proceed with Organ Donor Awareness Week 2020 (28 March – 4 April) in response to the outbreak of Covid-19. 

The IKA anticipates that its cohort of more than 5,000 transplanted and dialysis patients are at higher risk of mortality from Covid-19 than the general public. New protocols for dialysis and transplant patients “will become apparent as priorities are altered by events”, it said.

Mr Mark Murphy, Chief Executive of the IKA, said: “We have postponed the national Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign and asked our volunteer collectors to stand down. We may run the campaign later in the year, but this is simply the wrong time to ask the public to consider organ donation. We will put fundraising online and concentrate on showing the public the work of the IKA as well as providing specific advice on Covid-19 on our website www.ika.ie ”

“Our overall priority is to keep our patients and carers as safe as possible. The situation around the management of our cohort of patients within our healthcare system in these unprecedented times is uncertain.  Patients should be prepared for changes to their normal routines as alterations on how their treatment and transport is managed. These decisions may be personally difficult to accept.

“Dialysis away from a patient’s regular treatment centre – either for holidays or work reasons – has been halted. Dialysis patient holidays abroad are also stopped. Foreign dialysis visitors to our country will not be accommodated for treatment in our dialysis centres. Many dialysis centres across Europe are cancelling foreign visitors anyway.

“All Irish Kidney Association volunteer collectors have been directed not to distribute organ donor cards or sell forget-me-not flowers and other IKA merchandise. As well as promoting the benefits of organ donation for transplantation, this campaign has historically been the flagship week for the IKA and its fundraising drive for over three decades. Proceeds raised through its fundraising supports the work which the Association carries out in advocating and caring for kidney patients and their families as well in the promotion and distribution of the organ donor card.”

The public are encouraged to support the work of the IKA and can Freetext KIDNEY to 50300 to donate €4. They can also donate through the Irish Kidney Association’s website https://ika.ie/make-a-contribution/ 

Individuals who wish to support organ donation are encouraged to keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s licence and having the ‘digital organ donor card’ App on their smartphone.

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the IKA on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. People can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ App to their phone.

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