DonateLife Week: Australia’s regions with the highest and lowest registration rates for organ and tissue donors

The number of registered organ and tissue donors in Australia has nearly doubled from last year, but new data shows parts of the country are lagging behind in making the potentially life-saving pledge.

Nearly 350,000 Australians joined the Australian Organ Donor Registry in 2021 – the first year DonateLife held a Big Registration Race to increase the number of donors – up a whopping 87 percent from the year before.

Registrations have more than doubled in New South Wales, Tasmania and ACT and have grown by more than 85 percent in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

But despite this, only South Australia (73 percent) and Tasmania (50 percent) have met the DonateLife goal of enrolling 50 percent of the eligible population in each state and territory.

If this goal is achieved, DonateLife predicts that around 200 more Australians will receive life-saving or life-changing transplants each year.

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In 2021, 1,174 people received organs from 421 deceased donors. While the number of registrations grew, these numbers fell by 9% and 7%, respectively, compared to last year.

“Families agree to organ donation nine out of 10 times if their loved one is registered,” said Organ and Tissue Administration Executive Director Lucinda Barry, noting that the number had dropped to four from 10 when they were unaware of their relative’s desire.

“That’s why we’re so active in promoting enrollment, why we’re having DonateLife Week to raise awareness about the importance of enrollment.”

The Great Registration Race 2022 has started earlier this month with the goal of encouraging at least 100,000 people to spend the one minute it takes to register. It takes place during July and August, and from July 24 to July 31 it increases as part of DonateLife Week.

Anyone over the age of 16 can register. as an organ and tissue donor – even those who are elderly or unwell for any reason, including because they drink, smoke or have had diseases such as cancer or Covid, those who do not have a vaccine against Covid, or those who follow major religions. .

Registration takes only 60 seconds and can be completed in app or Website MyGov.

“Millions of Australians will visit MyGov to complete their tax return and have the opportunity to register in less than a minute while they are there,” Ms Barry said.

Registration of organ and tissue donors in the states and territories of Australia

South Australia leads the country in registrations, with more than half of eligible residents in all but one region committed to donating organs and tissues.

New data from Services Australia released earlier in the DonateLife week shows that nine out of 10 eligible residents have joined the roster in the coastal town of Robe. Nine more Local Government Areas (LGAs) had enrollment rates of 80 percent or more, led by Roxby Downs and Kangaroo Island.

The state’s largest city council, Onkaparinga, has the highest total enrollment at almost 114,000.

Ms. Barry largely attributes SA’s strong performance to the fact that residents can still register when they apply for or renew their driver’s license. This was no longer the case in other states and territories.

Only the sparsely populated Anangu Pitjantjajara region failed to reach the minimum 50 percent enrollment rate that DonateLife aims to cover in all states and territories.

New South Wales registered at least half of the eligible population in 31 local municipalities at the end of last year, but areas of western Sydney lagged behind.

The small north coast town of Bellingen led the state with 55 percent, followed by wealthy Mosman and the Blue Mountains region with 54 percent.

On the other hand, less than one in five eligible residents of Fairfield, Cumberland, Strathfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown have registered.

The Queenscliff region has the highest proportion of registered donors in Victoria at 48 per cent, while Brimbank and Greater Dandenong on the outskirts of Melbourne have registered less than one in 10 eligible residents.

Rates were also low at Wyndham (10%), Hume, Melton and Whittlesea (all 11%).

Greater Geelong had the highest enrollment volume in Victoria at almost 67,500. More than 40,000 registrations each were recorded in Mornington Peninsula and Casey, but this covered only 13 percent of the latter’s total adult population.

In Queensland, lifestyle hotspots Noosa, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast have been identified as lifeguard sanctuaries.

With 38 percent of eligible residents on the roster, Noosa trailed only the tiny regions of Barcoo (44 percent) and Bulloo (42 percent) in the race for the highest share of registrations in the state.

The Australian Service data also showed a 34 percent rate on the Sunshine Coast at the end of 2021, corresponding to more than 99,000 registrations. The Brisbane and Gold Coast LGAs had the highest total registrations in the state, at over 317,000 and 161,000 respectively.

But all of Queensland’s leading LGAs have fallen below the 50 per cent DonateLife target.

In Tasmania, at least a third of eligible residents registered in all 29 LGAs covered by the Services Australia study.

The West Coast region had the highest proportion of registered residents in the state at 56 percent, while Brighton had the lowest at 36 percent. King Island, Hobart, Clarence and Kingborough also had rates of 50 percent or more.

But despite registering over 2,600 Northern Territory residents in 2021, up 94% from a year earlier, the territory lags behind the rest of the country.

Darwin had the highest proportion of eligible residents on the registry at 15 percent, equating to nearly 10,500 registrations. It is followed by Lichfield (13%), Alice Springs, Kumali and Palmerston (all 12%).

In the remaining 11 local communities, the registration rate was below 10%.

Ms Barry said the remoteness of some of these communities and the fact that residents of the territory could never register as organ and tissue donors with their driver’s licenses contributed to the shortage.

“In all jurisdictions other than ACT, it was previously possible to register under a license, and a number of such registrations made it to the Australian Organ Donor Registry,” Ms Barry said.

She said OTA and DonateLife are working to increase enrollment rates in Australia’s Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse regions.

“Our goal is to make sure we can deliver key messages in a culturally appropriate way,” said Ms. Barry.

Liver Transplant Trio Can Finally Become Normal Children

On Zoe Gallagher’s first birthday, she has to leave the intensive care unit with her new liver.

It was a roller coaster moment that was her short life, as she was diagnosed with life-threatening infantile biliary atresia of the liver.

There were many falls – Zoe, her parents, Catherine Williams and Todd Gallagher, and sister Ella were regularly admitted to and discharged from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Kasai’s operation to drain her liver was unsuccessful, and her stomach was “preserved” . explodes” while she waited for a new liver.

But the day Zoe left the intensive care unit after her transplant was “an amazing day.”

“We had a party in the ICU and then another party in the Kakadu ward,” Ms Williams said.

“We could see that she had a bit of personality back, a bit of Zoe.”

Now, about two months after Zoey’s third birthday, she had another special day: she met two other girls who had liver transplants at the same hospital too early in their lives, Ashlyn Kane, 2, and Riley Swander, 3 of the year.

Their parents, Amandeep Kaur Kaynt and Gurdeep Singh Kaynt, and Katherine and Rob Swander, tell similar stories of offering their own liver when their daughters’ condition worsened while they were on the waiting list.

“There was really no hesitation – this is what she needs, let’s do it,” said Ms Swander. Ms Kent added: “Any parents would do this for their children.”

Ashlyn was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder type 1 citrullinaemia on the fourth day of life after she had seizures on the third day. She had a transplant in October 2021, after which she underwent about seven more minor operations to eliminate complications.

“It was a really hard life,” Keint said of the pre- and post-transplant period. “We often spent one day at home and then a week in the hospital. We had to measure out all her food.

“(But) everything is going well now. She’s turning three next month and we’re planning a big party.”

Riley’s condition, biliary atresia, led to her undergoing Kasai surgery at 32 days of age. She had her first transplant at the end of 2020, and when it failed, a second one in early 2021.

“After the unsuccessful first transplant, when we had high hopes that she would save her life, the second operation became much more difficult,” Ms Swander said.

“We still remember how we saw the faces of the surgeons after that operation and knew at that moment that she felt better and everything was in order. We felt a huge sense of relief.”

Riley also had a rough recovery, but has since made great strides. “After seeing these little milestones, we never knew she would have the chance, we are so grateful,” said Ms Swander.

All three girls now have relatively normal childhoods, attending or preparing to attend kindergarten, and Ashlyn in particular is enjoying new foods she couldn’t eat before. “She loves yogurt and noodles,” Ms. Kynt said.

All moms called on the 13 million Australians who had yet to register as organ and tissue donors to take 60 seconds to do so.

“You have no idea how life changing this is,” Ms Williams said.

“Our little girl is really in trouble. Here she is, a brilliant, sassy three-year-old girl who is about to do amazing things.”