Organ failure in Syria: initiating a national deceased donation program.
ABSTRACT In the absence of formal registry data, the volume and causes of organ failure in Syria are difficult to establish with certainty. However, we evaluated in this study the extent of organ failure by collecting data from health care authorities in different medical institutions who are involved in caring for patients with organ failure. Subsequently, we assessed the problem of the widening gap between organ supply and demand in our country and we highlighted the obstacles to initiating a national deceased donation program as a viable option to address the challenge of organ shortage. The estimated prevalence of corneal blindness in Syria is 2.3 per one thousand population. The estimated incidence of viral-induced cirrhosis is 49 - 67 per one million population (pmp); these include both HCV and HBV, which constitute the leading causes of liver failure. We estimated the incidence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) to be from 80 - 100 pmp. Obstacles to initiating a national deceased donation program include lack of awareness of the public at large and health care professionals to the importance of organ donation and transplantation. Other obstacles include lack of adequate resources in terms of finance, personnel and services and the unavailability of a national center for organ transplantation that influences public attitude, sets national guidelines and supervises all activities related to organ donation and transplantation.