This Ramadan, health and charity officials in Qatar are urging residents to be their “noblest” selves by giving blood and signing up to be organ donors.
The public health campaigns are being led by Hamad Medical Corp. (HMC) and the Al Faisal Without Borders Foundation.
Both the Ramadan Voluntary Blood Donation campaign and the National Organ Donation campaign are in their fifth year.
In a statement, Ali Al Khater, HMC’s chief communications officer, said:
“Donating blood or registering as an organ donor is among the noblest of acts, and we thank everyone who has supported these campaigns so far and hope that others are inspired to give the gift of life and donate.”
This month, officials from Qatar’s National Organ Donation campaign have set up booths in more than a dozen shopping malls and other prominent locations around the country.
The number of registered organ donors in Qatar has more than doubled in recent years, jumping from around 20,000 individuals in 2012 to some 43,000 people by 2014.
The booths are staffed with experts who are speaking to members of the public about the importance of organ donation and answering any questions they might have.
Signing up to be an organ donor takes only a couple of minutes and volunteers can now hand you an organ donor card on the spot.
Historically, the overwhelming majority of donors in Qatar have been expats because many Qataris questioned whether the practice was culturally and Islamically acceptable, HMC officials said in 2012.
However, the health care institution said that multiple scholars have asserted that organ donation is considered a high act of charity under Islam – provided that giving does not harm the donor, and that the organ is not sold, only donated.
At the time, she said the move was, in part, one way to help the country become more self-sufficient.
While some patients who cannot find a donor in Qatar travel abroad for treatment, doctors have said this practice can be dangerous.
Patients often are not given medical notes, which makes it more difficult for doctors in Qatar to follow up on any issues.
Meanwhile, though Qatar can mostly meet its blood supply needs, HMC occasionally finds itself in urgent need of donations of certain blood types.
During Ramadan, the main blood donor center at Hamad General Hospital – located next to the Consultative Council – is open Sunday to Thursday, 8am to 1pm and 6pm to midnight. It’s closed Fridays and open from 6pm to midnight on Saturdays. Call 44391081 for more information.
Additionally, mobile blood donor units are being dispatched to different areas around the country, but it is not clear where they will be located.
Donors in Qatar have previously said that they found the process of giving blood to be a relatively easy and painless process.
Are you registered to be an organ donor and/or given blood in Qatar? Thoughts?