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The Regional Hospital is where most transplants are carried out in the province. SUR
Malaga leads the world in organ transplants with more than five a week
Health

Malaga leads the world in organ transplants with more than five a week

The rate of donors in the province, with 52 donations per million inhabitants, is above the Andalusian and Spanish averages, and almost three times the European average

Iván Gelibter

Malaga

Tuesday, 27 February 2024

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Malaga province is the world leader in organ transplants, latest data shows.

Not only is the province a global leader, but it has also beaten its own record of transplants performed per week; in 2023 five operations were carried out every week at the Regional Hospital, which specialises in liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.

According to official data, seen by SUR, 281 transplants were carried out last year. The majority were kidney transplants (201), followed by liver transplants (67) and pancreas transplants, which totalled 13 operations.

The record figures do not only affect Malaga, with more than 1,000 transplants recorded for the first time throughout Andalucía - that is three a day for a population of just over eight million.

Domingo Daga, regional transplant coordinator, said the figures are "extraordinary" and that people in Andalucía and Malaga have made organ donation part of their legacy. "People are increasingly thinking that, at the end of their lives, when they die, donating is a magnificent option because it gives other people the chance to continue living with organs and tissues. This message, which seems simple and easy, has to be taken on board by society for this to work," he said.

"In Malaga, practically 90% of the families we ask accept; and a large part of them say yes because the person who has died in life expressed their wish. That is the key," Daga added.

Donations

For a transplant to take place, there must first be a donation. The rate is measured in the number of donors per million people. In Europe, this rate is around 20 people per million, while in Spain it is just under 48. In Andalucía it is around 51, while Malaga province recorded 52 in 2023, making it the leading area in the world.

"The work that has been done by the health organisations and the media has to be emphasised time and again," Daga said. "On the part of the transplant coordinators, we have tried to explain and inform society of the benefits, how generous, how useful, how particularly necessary it is that at the end of our days we can donate organs or tissues to help other people."

Regarding age and whether an ageing population could affect these figures in the future, Daga said the current average age of donors in Andalucía is 60.

"The idea that donors are young people who die in traffic accidents is a thing of the past; they make up less than 9% of the total," he added.

"If you were to ask me above at what age you cannot donate, I would say there is no age. In fact, we have donors who are sometimes over 90 years old. We evaluate people's organs and tissues more by their function and by their biological situation, than by their age."

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