Public opinion on organ donation in Saudi Arabia

Awatif Ali Alam
Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation 2007, 18 (1): 54-9
To evaluate factors affecting the knowledge and/or attitudes of the Saudi Arabian public with respect to organ donation and transplantation, a cross sectional study was conducted on a random sample of 948 Saudi citizens between 20-60 years of age during 2005. The collected data included: knowledge about organ donation campaigns, knowledge of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT), religious knowledge towards related issues, attitudes toward organ donation and self or close-relative experience of organ transplantation. The study revealed that 58.5% of participants heard about the existence of SCOT, 91.1% knew the need for organ donation, and 92.7 knew that organ donation could save lives. The organ donation campaign was known to 62.3% of the participants. Of these participants, 57.9% were made aware of organ donation campaigns through TV ads, 52.8% from magazines and newspapers and 11.7% from scientific sources. While 23.7% of the participants were unaware of any issued Islamic fatwa regarding organ donation, another 36.1% did not respond to this question revealing a lack of knowledge. Forty-two percent of the respondents agreed to donate their organs after death. Among the various reasons against organ donation, 27.5% feared that the act of organ donation contradicted their religious beliefs, while 3.5% believed that there was no benefit to organ donation. It is concluded that a need for proper information dissemination exists. A multidisciplinary approach is suggested including government support backed by strong recommendations from knowledgeable religious sources.

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