Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says on World Kidney Day that the number of living kidney donors continues to increase, having a massive impact on the lives of patients and their families.
Organ Donation New Zealand figures show that there were 82 live kidney donors in 2016, up from 74 the year before. Live donors accounted for about half of the 172 kidney transplant recipients last year.
“Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment and for people with organ failure it’s often the only option available,” says Dr Coleman.
“For those with end stage kidney disease they need either a transplant or dialysis. Although dialysis can be a very effective treatment it does require a huge amount of a patient’s time with many needing to be connected to a dialysis machine for more than 900 hours a year.
“Increasing the number of kidney transplants is important as we know that for many recipients it will lead to a much more independent, active and usually longer life.
“The Government has a comprehensive work programme to increase organ transplant numbers, through increasing both live and deceased organ donor rates.”
Today marks World Kidney Day and this year the focus is on obesity as a preventable risk factor for kidney disease.
“We know that obesity is particularly concerning in children as it is associated with a wide range of health conditions and increased risk of premature onset of illness,” says Dr Coleman.
“In October 2015 the Government launched the Childhood Obesity Plan which included a range of initiatives to prevent and manage obesity in children and young people.
“The plan provides targeted interventions for those who are obese, increased support for those at risk of becoming obese and broad approaches to make healthier choices easier for all New Zealanders.”
Notes to Editors
In the past four years the Government provided an additional $8 million to increase support and education for hospital staff, establish the National Renal Transplant Service, the New Zealand Kidney Exchange, fund donor liaison co-ordinators, and help overcome cultural barriers to donation.
The Government has made an ongoing investment of $2 million each year to continue support for organ donation and renal transplant services.
The Ministry of Health continues to work with the sector to finalise the deceased organ donation strategy.
The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act, brought by MP Chris Bishop, will come into force by 5 December 2017. The legislation helps to remove the financial deterrent to becoming a live organ donor.
The Ministry is currently developing systems and processes to meet the Act’s provisions, with the law due to come into effect before the end of this year.