The House transport committee agreed this week to place before the plenum a bill seeking to deter family members of a deceased person who had agreed to donate organs upon their death from refusing to comply.
A representative of the health ministry and the head of the road transport department told the committee that they strongly endorse the bill, noting that all aspects, including that of personal data protection, had been taken into consideration.
According to the chairman of the committee, Giorgos Prokopiou, the legislation allowing drivers to opt in or out of organ donation when their drivers licence is issued remains unclear as to whether the decision made by the person can be reversed by family members upon that person’s death.
Prokopiou added that the bill clarifies that relatives of organ donors would not be able to undo the donors’ decision if they die.
According to Statista, an online portal for statistics, Cyprus was among the EU countries with the largest share of family refusals to consent to organ donation. In 2015, 45.5 per cent of families refused to give consent for organ donation, the survey said. The percentage slightly dropped to 40 per cent a year later. Latvia topped the list with 45.7per cent, followed by Lithuania with 33.3 per cent and the UK with 35.2 per cent.
Despite the fact that Cyprus is among the top European countries when it comes to living kidney donors, it lags far behind on post-death organ donations.
In 2017, Cyprus organ donors clocked in at 6.5 per million inhabitants while in Europe this figure was 20 per million, MPs had heard.
In 2017 Spain had the highest rate of deceased donors in Europe with 47 per million population, another Statista survey said.
The continuous lack of organs leads to bigger transplant lists, Cypriot officials had said last year.
According to the findings of a 2018 study, from around 2,600 deaths recorded in Cypriot hospitals each year only 25 people were registered as potential organ donors. The news is better however when it comes to kidney donations. Between February 2011 and last summer, there have been 168 kidney transplants of which 43 came from post-death donors.
Member of the Transplant Council, Dr Constantinos Fellas, had said at the time that only eight per cent said they were registered as organ donors, and 65 per cent said they were interested in becoming one. The greatest interest was expressed from those in the 18 to 24 age group, followed by those between 25 and 44.
Four in 10 respondents believed one could buy an organ for transplant, while around the same percentage believes that only close relatives of patients could be living donors, according to the study.