Networking site recruits 25,000 organ donors
Dutch social networking Hyves has successfully recruited 25,000 new organ donors in a special campaign last spring. A spokesperson for Ministry of Health called it a good result for the campaign.
More than 217,000 visitors to the Hyves site have indicated they are willing in principle to become organ donors.
The success of the campaign has exceeded expectations. In comparison three years ago a controversial television show, billed as the Great Donor Show, produced 7300 new donors. In the show, three kidney transplant candidates appealed for votes so that one of them would be the lucky recipient of a new kidney. The show caused a lot of commotion, attracting attention from the international media and condemnation from then Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkendende. The show turned out to be a hoax to draw attention to the issue. The late founder of the television station BNN which created the programme was himself a kidney patient.
There is a huge shortage of donors in the Netherlands. Waiting lists for a new kidney are longer than four years. Every year, 135 people on the waiting list die.
Doctors expect the demand for transplants to steadily increase in the near future. This is because of a huge increase in the number of patients with diabetes and high blood pressure. These medical conditions often lead to organ failure.
In recent years, the government has launched a number of campaigns to increase the number of organ donors. The Health Ministry says this is not just done via the internet. Everyone over the age of 18 automatically receives a form by post to register as a donor.
Next week is National Donor Week in the Netherlands.